HSUS Ballot Initiative and Referendum Humane Voting Guide
- [The following Ballot Initiative and Referendum Humane Voting Guide comes from the Humane Society of the United States' web site at www.hsus.org/ace/21631. Here in California, please note that Prop. 64 will close the courthouse doors to animal activists. Other initiatives and referendums of importance to animal rights folks are on the ballots of Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Maine and Montana.]
Take the Initiative for Animals on November 2
A common thread runs through many of the initiatives and referenda on the ballot this November: Trophy hunters, trappers and even factory farmers, it would appear, are hot under the collar that regular citizens are daring to make decisions about animal welfare in their state; they're so steamed, in fact, they want to place the initiative process beyond the means of ordinary grassroots activists—at least in three states.
Alaska, Arizona and Florida will each ask voters on November 2 whether or not to drastically change the rules by which citizens can place initiatives on state-wide ballots. If these measures are passed, they will effectively handcuff activists who are frustrated with lobby-influenced legislatures and who want to put animal or environmental-related questions directly to the voters. Interestingly enough, citizens in each of these three states have, in recent years, passed initiatives to help animals, whether it was Floridians banning gestation crates in 2002 or Arizonans banning leghold traps in 1992.
Not only are trophy hunters and other animal exploiters trying to cut off the initiative process to activists, but they're also trying to legally protect their own "right" to hunt. In Montana, for instance, voters will be asked whether citizens have the "right to hunt," a term that could essentially protect trophy hunters' right to use whatever inhumane and unsportsmanlike method they choose.
At least eight ballot measures will be put to the voters in six states on November 2. "This upcoming election is crucial for animals in both the short term and long term," said Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society of the United States. "Voters in Maine and Alaska can stop hunters from employing unsportsmanlike techniques in stalking bears, which would have an immediate impact on the animals. On the other hand, voters in Alaska, Arizona and Florida can reject these outrageous attempts to tamper with the citizen initiative process; their rejection could benefit animals for years and years to come."
If you're a voter in one of the states with a ballot measure that could impact animals, please read our voting guide below. If you're not, please forward this guide to any voter you know who does live in one of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Maine and Montana.
Ballot Initiative and Referendum Humane Voting Guide
1.. Support: Ballot Measure 3
In Alaska, thousands of black bears are drawn to bait sites where they are shot at point blank range. Simply put, it is unfair and unsportsmanlike to lure an animal with garbagesuch as jelly doughnuts, rotting fruits, bacon grease, and other unnatural foods—and then shoot the creature while he or she is feeding. This measure would prohibit trophy hunters from using such practices.
2.. Oppose: Ballot Measure 1
There are already numerous restrictions on citizen initiatives in Alaska. This referendum would make it nearly impossible to qualify a citizen initiative for the ballot. It seeks to raise the signature-gathering bar from 10% of voters in two-thirds of house districts to 10% of voters in three-quarters of house districts. What's more, it would require that at least 7% of the signatures from each district be from those who voted in the last general election. This drastic change largely targets the true citizen-based initiative, such as those for animal welfare or the environment, rather than those measures supported by well-funded organizations, which will simply pay more for the signatures.
1.. Oppose: Proposition 104
Legislators placed this constitutional amendment on the ballot to discourage grassroots citizens' groups from placing issues on the ballot. If approved, Proposition 104 would require initiative signatures to be filed seven months before the general election, making it much more difficult to gather the necessary number of signatures. Current law requires signatures to be filed four months before the election.
1.. Oppose: Proposition 64
Proposition 64, if approved, would take away the rights of citizens to challenge unfair business practices, unless those citizens were personally injured by the company under question. Since animals do not have legal standing (meaning they do not have the right to legally challenge existing corporate practices), concerned groups need legal standing in order to challenge practices for animals. Proposition 64 would take that right away.
1.. Oppose: Amendment 2
At the urging of powerful lobbyists, legislators put this referendum on the ballot largely to thwart grassroots citizens' groups from placing issues on the ballot. Amendment 2, if passed, would shorten the deadline for submitting signatures by six months, making it much harder for largely volunteer activists to collect enough signatures to place a measure on the ballot. Voters need a way to directly reform laws when important issues, such as animal welfare, are blocked by powerful special interests. For more information, visit www.HandsOffFlorida.org.
2.. Oppose: Amendment 4
In an attempt to boost its sagging industry, wealthy dog track owners are pushing a measure to allow slot machines at their tracks. Thousands of greyhounds are killed each year when they are no longer fast enough to race and earn their owners a profit. What's more, greyhounds face abusive treatment, neglect, and serious injury when they race. It's up to voters to send a powerful message to the dog racing industry that its cruelty will not be rewarded. For more information, visit www.GREY2KUSA.org
1.. Support: Question 2
Maine is the only state in the country that allows trophy hunters to use three of the most inhumane and unsportsmanlike methods to kill bears: baiting, hounding, and trapping. The cruelty involved with each method is unfathomable to those who have not witnessed these outrageous hunts. (See for yourself via the video link on this page.) The Humane Society of the United States and Maine Citizens for Fair Bear Hunting are urging Maine residents to vote yes on Question 2 to ban these cruel and unfair practices. For more information, visit www.fairbearhunting.org.
1.. Oppose: C-41
Over the past seven years or so, a wave of so-called "right to hunt" legislative and constitutional provisions has been sweeping through state legislatures. If approved, Ballot Number 1 would guarantee the right to hunt, fish, and trap. This movement is a radical response by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the National Rifle Association and trophy hunting groups to counter the successful citizen initiatives that have restricted cruel and unsportsmanlike hunting practices.
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