What is Initiative 16 (PAUSE act) and why should it matter to you?

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What is Initiative 16?

Initiative 16 is a citizen-led ballot initiative that:

  • Criminalizes farmers, ranchers, and veterinarians who use accepted animal husbandry practices to care for animals.
  • Changes state statutory language to define common animal care practices as “cruelty to animals.”
  • Bans slaughter for animals that have lived less than 25 percent of their “natural” lifespan.
  • Criminalizes the following veterinary and animal husbandry practices: spaying and neutering, birthing assistance, reproductive practices (artificial insemination, pregnancy diagnosis, fertility testing), etc.
  • Eliminates accepted animal husbandry practices, opening the door to animal cruelty prosecution for common and basic practices such as feeding, sheltering, and transportation.

What are the implications of Initiative 16?

  • Destroy Colorado’s $5 billion livestock industry.
  • Crush Colorado’s $1 billion beef export market.
  • Kill jobs by shutting down most, if not all, Colorado beef and lamb processing.
  • Significantly increase consumer costs for meat.
  • Result in practices that are bad for the animals and the environment by requiring detrimental production practices.
  • Erase agriculture’s heritage in Colorado by effectively banning rodeos, county fairs, and horse shows.

What is National Western’s Official Position?

The National Western Stock Show is firmly against proposition 16! We’ve joined with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, state agricultural leaders, and their organizations to oppose Initiative 16 (the PAUSE act). Alongside our Colorado ag and livestock partners, National Western will use all necessary influence, in every political circle, to see that the measure is defeated. Agriculture is the backbone of the NWSS since 1906 and we will continue to protect its vitality here in Colorado. – Paul Andrews, President & CEO, NWSS

What can you do to help?

Get the facts and educate yourself. This initiative is attempting to prey on animal owners and has far-reaching implications. Become an ag-advocate and help your friends and neighbors understand why they shouldn’t support this dangerous initiative.


Fact Sheet: Defeating Initiative 16 
provided by the Colorado Livestock Association

Coloradoans for Animal Care

The Fence Post (news organization)

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association

Colorado Livestock Association

Colorado Farm Bureau

Post adapted from the Colorado Livestock Association’s Fact Sheet: Defeating Initiative 16

Last updated: 3.31.21