Senior Staff Writer

Initiative Petition 13 would make it a crime for Oregonians to kill animals, including hunting, fishing and slaughtering livestock for meat. It would also make common animal breeding practices sex crimes.

Signature gathering is now underway for IP 13, with organizers hoping to get it on the ballot in November 2022.

IP 13 would modify existing statutes on animal abuse to remove a number of exemptions from laws forbidding the intentional injuring or killing of animals a crime.

Current exemptions protecting those who grow livestock for food and those who hunt or fish a would be removed. Breeding animals by artificial insemination would become a crime.

Even pest control that involves killing or injuring some types of animals would be illegal. Rodents, for example, would be protected. Insects would not. The animals protected would include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

The proposal includes exemptions for self defense and for veterinary practices such as euthanasia and spaying and neutering.

It does not ban sale or consumption of meat.

Oregon farmers would be barred from killing their animals, but they could sell meat from animals that died of natural causes. Meat could also be imported from outside the state for sale.

The petition has already completed the first stage in its quest for the ballot, having received more than 1,000 sponsorship signatures. Now, supporters are attempting to gather the 112,020 signatures required to qualify for the ballot.

Calls to the Yes on IP 13 campaign seeking comment were not returned Thursday or Friday.

But in a September interview on the Animal Law Podcast, Chief Petitioner David Michelson said the current list of exemptions to animal abuse statutes “hollows out the effect” of the protections.

Removing the exemptions, except for the ones allowing self defense and veterinary care, would benefit animals, he said.

“It would make Oregon a sanctuary state, and on sanctuaries animals aren’t killed,” Michelson said in the interview.

He acknowledged that the petition is “incredibly radical” and said supporters aren’t “naive about the uphill battle that this would take to win.” However, he said if it’s on the ballot, the conversations it will create about killing animals are themselves valuable.

“That alone I think is going to make a lot of people question whether we really should be doing this for the first time,” he said.

Douglas County Farm Bureau President Evan Kruse called IP 13 “absurd.”

“It is so far out there it seems crazy that anybody would even put money behind it,” he said.

The Oregon Farm Bureau opposes the petition, saying it would put Oregon’s ranchers out of business. Kruse said IP 13 would also force much of Oregon’s food to be produced out of the state.

“So much of Oregon is this open range land where the only crop you can grow is something that eats grasses. You can’t go plant broccoli or beans or tofu on this ground,” he said.

Oregon’s commercial fishing industry would be effectively eliminated along with ranching, and tourism would be impacted too.

“Just think of all the people that come down to our county to fish on the North Umpqua River,” Kruse said.

The bill could impact timber protection by criminalizing some wildlife control intended to protect young trees. It could also impact wildfire prevention by removing the economic incentive to use grazing animals to manage fuels that can feed those fires, Kruse said.

The effects could be felt in metropolitan homes, too.

“It would ban using mouse traps or mouse bait in your house,” he said.

On the podcast, Michelson said nonlethal means could be used to trap and remove animals that people consider invasive or a nuisance.

Kruse said the bill is such a departure from what people value in Oregon that he wonders if it isn’t a “first volley” that will be followed by efforts to curtail ranching or hunting on a smaller scale.

“My real concern is what comes next,” he said.

OTHER PETITIONS

IP 13 is just one of the many petitions that could make their way to the ballot in November.

A number of other petitions have also collected the initial 1,000 sponsorship signatures, allowing organizers to move on to the second phase of signature gathering. Here’s a look at some of those contenders:

INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING

IP 34 would take redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature, creating an independent commission that would decide how Oregon’s legislative and congressional districts are drawn next time around.

The group behind the petition, People Not Politicians, had attempted to put their independent redistricting measure on the ballot in 2020, but failed to collect sufficient signatures by the deadline. Organizers cited difficulty gathering signatures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the country and in Oregon, putting legislators in charge of redistricting has led to allegations of gerrymandering — the practice of drawing oddly-shaped districts to improve the chances of the party in power and incumbent legislators.

The independent commission envisioned by People Not Politicians aims to avoid that with a judge-appointed commission made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and four others who are either nonaffiliated or members of third parties. Candidates and elected officials would not be eligible, and neither would party officers, lobbyists or donors.

ENDING GRIDLOCK

Four petitions propose methods to end gridlock in the state Legislature and some are intended to punish legislators who use walkouts in an attempt to block action by members of the other party. Over the past two years, Republican legislators have initiated walkouts that denied Democrats the two-thirds attendance quorum necessary to pass legislation. In 2020, for example, Republicans walked out to block climate legislation that was expected to pass on a party line vote.

IP 14 proposes disqualifying legislators with 10 excused absences from running in the next election. IP 15 would fine absent legislators and dock their salaries so they wouldn’t be paid for the missed days. IP 26 reduces the number necessary to reach a quorum and adds a day to the session for each day on which a quorum wasn’t reached.

IP 19 would block a different obstruction tactic, barring legislators from forcing a delay by demanding an entire bill be read in full before a vote.

GUN CONTROL

Lift Every Voice Oregon, a coalition of faith-based organizations seeking an end to gun violence in Portland, has put forward two petitions seeking to control gun ownership.

IP 17 would require a criminal background check and classroom and live-fire training before receiving a permit to purchase firearms. It would also bar ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds.

IP 18 would ban manufacture, possession and transfer of many semiautomatic firearms, with criminal penalties.

PEOPLE’S REBATE

As reported in Wednesday’s The News-Review, IP 6, called the Oregon People’s Rebate, would raise the minimum corporate tax for companies earning more than $25 million in Oregon to 3%. The money raised would be distributed Oregonians as a rebate. The rebate would put an estimated $750 in every Oregonian’s pocket, adult or child, each year.

GROCERY STORE LIQUOR

No less than three petitions, IPs 35, 36 and 37, would allow grocery stores to sell hard liquor.

ENVIRONMENT REGULATED BY INDUSTRY

IP 3 would change the makeup of the Environmental Quality Commission, making four of its five members representatives of industry — one each for the mining, agricultural, manufacturing and timber communities.

The Environmental Quality Commission sets policy and makes rules for the Department of Environmental Quality. It also judges appeals to DEQ’s fines and other actions and appoints the DEQ director.

REFERRALS

Two measures that will definitely appear on the ballot have been referred by the state Legislature. One of these seeks voter approval of Senate Joint Resolution 12, establishing a right to health care for Oregon residents and Senate Joint Resolution 10, which would remove archaic language in the constitution allowing slavery as a criminal punishment.

NEW FILINGS

New prospective petitions continue to be filed. Four filed this November are still attempting to get their first 1,000 signatures. They include proposals for open primaries, ranked choice voting, requiring voter approval for transportation tolls and decriminalizing sex work.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(3) comments

Wretched722

Do I still have the right to euthanize my cat/dog if it's suffering?

dejadoodoo

No to IP 13...it's just too weird to even take halfway seriously.

As for IPs 35, 36 and 37 -- anything that can be attempted to transition liquor in Oregon away from state monopoly and more into fair trade pricing and marketing would be appreciated. Oregon's present control of liquor prices and limited retail exposure isn't quite as restrictive as Utah, but it's a close second.

CitizenJoe

This is crazy. It's not quite as batty as I initially thought, because I thought that when the petitioners said "animal" the meant "animal", but what they really mean is non-human vertebrates. Under Oregon Revised Statute, an animal is specifically defined as any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish.

So my example of "baiting a hook with a worm, and touching its clitellum in the presence of a child," getting me prison time, is invalid (so long as don't hook any fish, and catch them and touch their naughty bits). Ditto my example of brushing off aphids.

So, this IP is not quite as cuckoo as I thought. Still nuts.

We ought to be concerned about the welfare of all sentient beings. This is not the way forward.

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