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Published April 08, 2013, 09:43 AM

Address animal abuse penalties

ND House leaders should follow Senate’s lead

By: Ellen Linderman, Agweek

CARRINGTON, N.D. — As a North Dakota farmer, I want the state’s legislative body to address the issue of animal well-being in North Dakota. SB 2211, a bill that addresses the issues of animal cruelty in North Dakota, should be passed by the House, just as it was passed overwhelmingly in the Senate.

Bills addressing animal cruelty have been considered in past legislative sessions with no action taken. This lack of action resulted in certain groups putting Measure 5 on the ballot last fall.

Coalition consensus

A coalition, including North Dakota farmers and ranchers, opposed Measure 5 because it did not think the measure addressed the issue of animal cruelty in a comprehensive way or in a way that respected the farmers and ranchers of North Dakota who make a living with animal agriculture.

This group, all North Dakota residents, said at the time that it wanted to be given an opportunity to develop a good comprehensive piece of legislation that it could bring to the Legislature for further consideration and debate. The voters listened, and Measure 5 was defeated.

I think the coalition kept this promise. It held meetings and discussions and came to a consensus on what it felt was a reasonable answer to this issue. It found legislative sponsors for its proposal. After committee hearings and approval, the North Dakota Senate passed SB 2211 overwhelmingly.

If SB 2211 does not pass the North Dakota House, I am sure there will be another attempt at an initiated measure, which would bring in those outside interests and be much more restrictive and not in the best interests of farmers and ranchers of North Dakota.

The House should follow the lead of the Senate and pass SB 2211 in its current form.

Editor’s Note: Linderman farms near Carrington, N.D.