CLA supports an effective, permanent and mandatory animal identification program that is technology neutral and that is developed by industry partners who agree on an acceptable plan that can be implemented in the most cost efficient manner that does not limit, inhibit or prevent commerce and is uniformly accepted and eliminates variation from state to state.
As an organization we support brand inspection for range cattle, but believe there is reduced value in the inspection of cattle in confinement especially when they do not change ownership. CLA has a longstanding involvement with the brand laws in Colorado.
The Association led the effort to develop the Certified Feedyard Program by directly engaging with the Brand Board and other users of the system. The Certified Feedyard Program reduces fees by allowing a feedyard to self-inspect cattle that are not changing ownership. The feedyard is subject to an audit by the Brand Board on a quarterly basis to verify that all cattle were inspected accurately.
There are 62* full-time and part-time brand inspectors.
There are 21* participants in the Certified Feedyard Program.
There are more than 32,000* registered brands.
Livestock agents inspect over 4 mil head of cattle annually.
*These numbers are according to the Colorado State Board of Stock Inspection at the time of publication in August 2020.
Animal Activism in Colorado
HB 20-1343 Egg-Laying Hen Confinement Standards
The membership of CLA does not include egg-laying hen facilities, however CLA watched House Bill 20-1343 closely because of the possible future implications for other livestock species.
HB 20-1343 if passed would require a farm owner or operator to house chicken, turkey, duck, goose, or guinea fowl hens in accordance with strict confinement standards established in the bill. The bill would prohibit a business owner or operator from selling shell eggs or egg products that are produced by egg-laying hens confined in a manner that conflicts with these standards.
Initiative 314 An Initiative for an Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals
Initiative #314, introduced by activist group World Animal Protection, which was going through the Title Board process to get on the Colorado ballot in November was intriguingly similar to HB 20-1343. The initiative was statutory not constitutional so signatures could all be collected in one place and it would require only a 50 percent threshold for passage. Interestingly, if passed it would impose even more onerous spacing requirements than are currently in place and operators would have to comply by December 31, 2021 and it would apply to pigs, veal calves and chickens.
At the recommendation of Swine Council members, CLA leadership decided to challenge the language in the initiative and retained the services of legal counsel. After failing to find support for our case with the Title Board the decision was made to make an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. After considerable deliberation, the Court found in favor of the initiative supporters and allowed them to move forward in gathering signatures.
However, while this is taking place, the legislature in the closing hours of the session passed HB 20-1343. CLA had established a “neutral” position on the bill because we had been told that if HB 20-1343 were to pass and gain the Governor’s signature then the proponents of the initiative would not move forward to gather signatures but instead would withdraw #314.
Once the Governor signed the bill the initiative was withdrawn.
The previously mentioned legislation was promoted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and it is not the first time for HSUS to be involved with animal welfare legislation in Colorado.
In 2008, Governor Bill Ritter signed Senate Bill 201 making it illegal to “keep veal calves in too small enclosures and imposed a ban on gestation crates for pregnant pigs” and again in 2013 HSUS authored legislation banning tail docking in dairy cattle.
CLA’s Animal Care Code of Ethics
We have all seen ugly videos showing unacceptable and inexcusable animal abuse or neglect. The Association has been at the forefront in the adoption of policy on the proper handling and care of livestock. CLA members are committed to adhering to the Animal Care Code of Ethics adopted by the Association.
It is vital to prepare for, control, and mitigate livestock disease outbreaks. The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Division’s preparedness and response plans for the different livestock sectors are great tools for producers to use to create farm-specific plans in the event of a disease outbreak.
View helpful resources from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
THE CLA POLICY BOOK
The CLA Policy Book is written and updated by CLA members. The policies within the book dictate the position that CLA takes on numerous issues throughout the state and within the regulatory arena.