Ranchers and feedlot operators often have opposed legislation that would impose laws against animal cruelty or improve animal welfare standards. However, the Idaho Cattle Association looks set to endorse legislation that would make animal cruelty a felony — on the third offense.
Why is the Association making such a magnanimous gesture? It turns out that the move is in response to a ballot initiative that is pending in the state. From an article in the Columbus, Indiana (of all places) Republic:
[The] initiative, on file with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, would define animal torture and make such crimes a felony on the first offense. For animal cruelty, the measure would increase misdemeanor fines to $400 for a first offense, up from a current $100 fine, and triple fines for a second offense to $600.
It would also make a third animal cruelty conviction within a 15-year period a felony, punishable by between six months and three years in prison and a $9,000 fine.
The Cattle Association evidently snuffed out the direction of the wind on this one. In their newsletter, they reported:
Members felt as though it was important for the ICA to take initiative on the matter so that the association can control the outcome of the bill.
One way or another, it appears that Idaho finally may be moving forward into the 1900’s when it comes to animal cruelty.