A coalition of ag groups in Missouri, which was formed to fight attempts by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to push for anti-animal agriculture ballot measures, is lending support to a similar group in North Dakota.
Dan Kleinsorge, with the Missouri Farmers Care Coalition, tells Brownfield they are helping the North Dakota Animal Stewards fight a misleading HSUS ballot initiative there called Measure 5. The measure would create a cruelty felony statute for the abuse of dogs, cats and horses in North Dakota. Current violations there are misdemeanors.
Like the attempts in Missouri, Kleinsorge says Measure 5 is seen as the first step in trying to harm the animal agriculture industry in North Dakota. “You know, HSUS doesn’t care about state lines and so we need to be proactive about helping our friends. Just because farms or ranches in North Dakota doesn’t make them any less a part of our community,” he says.
Kleinsorge says the HSUS, through Measure 5, is a foot in the door issue, classifies horses as companion animals, and threatens to thwart science- based animal welfare legislation for all species being written by North Dakota Ag groups, vet groups, local shelters and that state’s department of agriculture. Missouri Farmers Care has held town hall meetings as they have in Missouri, he says, to educate North Dakotans about the true motives of the HSUS.
Kleinsorge says they expect South Dakota is next on the list of the Humane Society of the United States for a ballot initiative there. He says HSUS is pressing for felony animal cruelty statutes in every state and North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states that don’t have those.