Animal Protection A Major Theme On State Ballots

With election day less than two months away, voters will soon decide a variety of statewide ballot measures affecting animals, including commercial trapping, cockfighting, mourning dove hunting, and the selling of horses for human consumption. Voters in seven states will consider eight animal protection measures, matching the number of measures that appeared on state ballots in 1996.

For the first time, anti-cockfighting measures will appear on statewide ballots. Other practices targeted include mourning dove hunting, trapping and poisoning of wildlife, and the human consumption of horses.

While past initiatives have focused on protecting wildlife, three measures will address protecting other animals. Voters in two states, Arizona and Missouri, will have an opportunity to vote on whether to ban or not ban organized animal fighting activities, such as cockfighting. Missouri's Proposition A also bans "baiting," fighting tethered animals against a pack of dogs, and bear wrestling. A California measure, Proposition 6, seeks to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The measures to protect domestic animals mark a significant shift in the subject content for animal protection initiatives.

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