Animal welfare issues absent from 2020 ballots

An animal welfare policy expert says the 2020 election was the first time in more than 30 years an animal welfare issue was NOT on a ballot somewhere in the U.S.

“Twenty-twenty was the first time since 1986 that the animal welfare movement did not have a ballot measure on in any state in the country.”

Peter Ruddell with Honigman LLP says 1996 was the last time that there was a ballot vote where the animal welfare movement was not successful.

He says division in the animal rights community is growing since Wayne Pacelle’s resignation from the Humane Society of the United States in 2018, pointing to a federal issue on horse racing where groups took opposite sides.

“I think we’re going to continue to see the splintering of animal welfare movement, which has been by and large moving as a cohesive group.”

Moving forward Ruddell expects COVID to become an animal welfare issue. “In terms of the safety and potential disease spread through the consumption of animals,” he says.

Ruddell shared his perspective during this week’s Michigan Agri-Business Association Winter Conference, saying he’s also not expecting any significant animal welfare issues to appear on the 2022 ballot, at least not in Michigan which has seen the greatest animal welfare success in the Midwest through the ballot process.

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