Oregon bill seeks to criminalize breeding/raising livestock for meat

Tilhana

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
154
397
118
New England
I was shocked when I heard about this. I'm wondering how well-known this is among people who actually raise livestock, whether for meat or eggs or whatever. Anyone from Oregon familiar with it? I'm not a resident but I'm very worried about the kind of precedent it might set if it passes and other states follow suit. Colorado is already proposing a similar, though slightly less draconian, iniative.

Check out this link for the details: https://www.farmprogress.com/livestock/oregon-initiative-would-ban-animal-slaughter-breeding

In a nutshell, it would reclassify livestock slaughter as "aggravated abuse," and artificial insemination and castration would both be considered "sexual assault." I realize the latter doesn't really apply to chicken breeding, but banning the slaughter of livestock on its own could have a devastating impact on backyard chicken owners.

Even if you just keep some pullets as pets and never butcher them, consider this: in order to buy pullets, hens, or sex-linked female chicks, someone somewhere needs to be culling the males. This would be banned under the proposed law, which states that livestock can only be slaughtered, either for meat or otherwise, after they've died of natural causes. Meaning that, at least in Oregon, no one would be allowed to hatch chicken eggs unless they are prepared to care for or rehome the roosters for their entire natural lifespan (anyone know the average natural lifespan of a domesticated chicken? I've seen a wide range of estimates). This would probably put any Oregon-based hatcheries out of business or force them to leave the state, but it would also criminalize most backyard breeding, since not many owners of small flocks have the means to care for roosters long-term.

First of all, many towns have local ordinances against raising roosters. People living in these towns may still be able to breed and hatch their own chicks, as long as they cull the males before they reach adulthood, but of course the new law would make this illegal.

Even if your town does allow roosters, assuming approximately half of all hatched eggs turn out to be males, the only way to raise an entire brood together into adulthood with male-to-female ratios of 1:1, or even more (if you're expecting to sell some of the females), is to have a very large area to ensure the roosters have enough space that they won't be constantly fighting each other. This usually requires either free-ranging on a large enough area of land that the chickens aren't wandering into your neighbor's property, or a very large fenced-in pasture. Few people have those kinds of resources, and those that do are not likely to want to set them aside for a bunch of roosters that have to be fed and cared for for years before they can be used for meat, and that's assuming they die a natural death that doesn't render the meat unfit for human consumption, as is likely if they die from either illness or attack by a predator.

Even if you have the space to free-range, many areas have such high predator pressure that you can't free-range birds without attracting predators that will gradually decimate your flock and potentially put your other livestock at risk. And forcing roosters to share a run with a roughly equal number of hens is likely to going to result in a lot of roosters fighting each other, and a lot of stress on the hens being constantly pursued by a whole bunch of roosters jostling for position in the pecking order.

None of these scenarios seems particularly humane to the animals, despite claims from the bill's advocates that this is all for the sake of animal welfare. And while re-homing a rooster may seem like an ethical alternative to raising them in large numbers in enclosed spaces, anyone who's ever tried to rehome a rooster knows how hard it is to find people willing to take even one off your hands, let alone pay you for it. You can sometimes find someone with a backyard flock who needs a rooster, but there just isn't enough demand for roosters to match the supply generated from even a small breeding operation, unless you allow them to be sold for meat. And if this bill passes, then much of that existing demand will fall off as backyard breeders realize they can no longer hatch their own eggs, removing much of the incentive for keeping a rooster in the first place.

What do you think? Are there further implications to this bill that I haven't mentioned? Does anyone disagree with me and think this could be a good thing for backyard chicken owners, or that I'm misinterpreting the bill's meaning? What do you think are the odds that this will pass into law? I'm especially interested to hear what Oregonians think of this. Were you aware of the initiative? Are you worried it will pass? And finally, if anyone wants to wade into it, what does this say about the government's position on individuals' right to pursue self-sufficiency, or at least local food economies and infrastructure, and independence from centralized, industrialized food production? Is this an attack on homesteaders and others who are trying to opt-out of industrial agriculture to force people to switch to lab-grown meat or stop eating meat altogether? Or is it a crackdown on inhumane industrial farming practices, and backyard flocks are simply the unintended collateral damage caught in the crossfire?

edit: Originally I said that the bill required animals to be raised for 1/4th of their natural lifespan, but upon reviewing the link above I realized that this standard actually comes from a similar bill proposed in Colorado. The Oregon bill specifically states that animals must die of natural causes before they can be used for meat. I've corrected the text above to reflect that.
 
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Banana01

Songster
Feb 18, 2021
963
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San Martin, Peru
From glancing at the text of the bill, it all sounds like it's aimed to punish animal cruelty. It says that established humane animal husbandry practices are exempt from this law. So the pracrice of culling roosters is not necessarily illegal under this proposed law. Only backyard chicken farmers that are mistreating the animals are going to be affected.
 

Tilhana

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
154
397
118
New England
From glancing at the text of the bill, it all sounds like it's aimed to punish animal cruelty. It says that established humane animal husbandry practices are exempt from this law. So the pracrice of culling roosters is not necessarily illegal under this proposed law. Only backyard chicken farmers that are mistreating the animals are going to be affected.
The actual text of the bill is kind of confusing because it's talking about changes to the language of existing laws, but if you look carefully, it seems that there are both additions and deletions. I could be wrong but I think that the parts of the text written in [brackets] are deletions, and the parts written in normal text are additions. The article I linked to says that the bill proposes to remove all references to good animal husbandry as being exempt from animal cruelty laws, and it looks like all the parts that refer to good animal husbandry are in brackets.

I'm not all that good at reading legalese, so correct me if you're more well-versed in this kind of thing. But I think this is the crux of the argument: that good animal husbandry practices would no longer be considered exempt from animal cruelty laws.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
7,336
26,169
927
Western Ohio
Just that wording is concerning to me. People need to stop anthropomorphizing. Sounds like another step towards the worldwide push towards veganism. No thanks.
Absolutely. Veganism isn’t a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable for most. Humans ARE omnivores wether vegans want to accept this actual, undeniable fact or not.
 

Oncoming Storm

Crowing
Jun 3, 2019
1,354
2,103
256
This will lead to a large number of roosters being abandoned or turned over to shelters who aren’t built to care for poultry and will end up euthanize them anyways. [and sexual assault is legally defined as an unwanted advance of a person unless the law has changed in the last year, so this doesn’t make sense.] Overall, I don’t see any real benefit to this. AND legal documents are written to be confusing so that loopholes can be made. It’s done on purpose.
 

Tilhana

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
154
397
118
New England
Absolutely. Veganism isn’t a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable for most. Humans ARE omnivores wether vegans want to accept this actual, undeniable fact or not.
I agree. I was vegan for 3 years and vegetarian for another 20, so I'm sympathetic to the impulse to protect animals from cruelty. But the more research I've done on nutrition and the health outcomes for people who avoid animal products, the more I've come to realize that it's extremely difficult to meet your body's nurtitional needs with a vegetarian diet, or at least it requires more effort than most people in the modern world are willing to exert. And I'm skeptical that a vegan diet is ever sustainable without tragic health outcomes. One key indicator of this is that as far as we know, there's never been a culture in the history of anatomically modern humans that followed a vegan diet. Vegetarian, yes, but even that requires a lot of eggs and dairy and a wide variety of vegetables, legumes, and other foods to make up for the absence of the nutrients contained in meat.

I recently heard an interview with Lily Nichols, a nutritionist who has done a ton of research on nutritional needs during pregnancy, and she disspelled a lot of myths that people have about all the things you're not "supposed" to eat while pregnant, like runny eggs and too much fish. Turns out, eggs and liver are the only foods that contain anywhere near the amount of choline needed to meet daily requirements for pregnant women, and you can measure the outcomes of pregnant women's choline consumption in the brain development of their children. And despite concerns over mercury, similar studies have shown a direct correlation between children's brain development and the amount of fish their mothers ate while pregnant, even though many of the mothers in the study ate well over the maximum amount of fish typically recommended by doctors. All of this suggests that animal products are essential to normal human development. The implications for the children of vegan mothers are unsettling.
 

JubileeFarmer

Chirping
Apr 15, 2021
84
266
91
Mid Willamette Valley (Oregon)
This ballot initiative is sponsored by an animal cruelty group. It has nothing to do with our governor. I’m not a fan of our governor but really, it has nothing to do with her.

First this would have to get enough signatures to even get on the ballot. Then the people of Oregon would have to vote on it. Not only would it ban the slaughter of farm animals it would also ban hunting, fishing, and the killing of vermin. There is no way it would pass.
 

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