After receiving over 31,000 voter signatures, the City of Denver announces that two pro-animal petitions contain sufficient valid signatures to appear on next year’s ballot.
In what they consider a stride toward a kinder future, Pro-Animal Future’s fur ban and slaughterhouse ban have each reached sufficiency status for Denver’s ballot. Over 130 volunteers collected voters’ signatures for these two initiatives, starting in May and ending in October of this year. The group submitted six boxes of petitions earlier this month, and now, the City has updated the Citizen-Led Initiative tracker on its website to confirm that a sufficient number of valid signatures were approved. After December 1, Denver Elections is set to notify Denver City Council so that they can certify the fur and slaughterhouse questions for vote during the November 5, 2024, General Election.
The first of the two ballot measures seeks to end the sale and manufacture of fur. New fur products are still sold in at least four stores in Denver—including Overland Sheepskin, the site of a recent fur protest. The proposed ban would exempt secondhand fur and Indigenous trade of fur, as it only aims to target the continued factory-farming and trapping of animals for luxury fashion sales. Advocates point out that a 2020 poll showed 71% of Americans oppose killing animals for their fur and that the vast majority of animals killed for their fur are raised in small cages on factory farms where they cannot exhibit their natural behaviors. Boulder and 13 other cities in the U.S. have already phased out fur sales. Pro-Animal Future hopes that Denver’s participation will propel a movement to eventually free all animals from fur industry abuse.
The second pro-animal initiative, which would end slaughterhouses, has struck a chord with residents on environmental justice grounds. “It’s no longer a secret that Denver’s lamb slaughterhouse is in violation of the Clean Water Act,” reports Phoenix Huber, spokesperson for Pro-Animal Future. “The slaughterhouse is a source of pollution in Globeville, an area of Denver already overwhelmed with industrial contamination. Many people we spoke with while petitioning felt concerned for the over 1,000 sheep per day who are killed there. Plus, the UN advises a more plant-based future to fight climate change. We should listen to the empathy that we feel for animals, and for the workers who are forced to kill baby lambs all day. By banning an unnecessary source of animal cruelty in our neighborhoods, we can accelerate an evolution towards a greener and kinder modern economy.”
Pro-Animal Future’s campaign director Lauren Uram said, “The strong support we’ve seen reflects a changing mindset in Denver. It goes beyond simply banning slaughterhouses and fur. It’s about reshaping our connection with animals and understanding that how we treat animals affects human well-being and environmental sustainability.” Lauren, a former farm worker who volunteers helping sheep at a local animal sanctuary, recently appeared in The Denver Gazette.
Kayla Begay, a former cattle rancher who was one of the campaign’s top signature gatherers, expressed her happiness over the victory. “I stopped raising animals for slaughter because my heart could no longer take it. From having talked to hundreds of Denver voters, I know that many people feel the same and are ready for a change. It won’t happen overnight, but by voting on policies that protect animals and our environment at the same time, we can help society evolve faster to a more humane and livable future.”
Over the next 11 months, the pro-animal community plans to have conversations with Denver residents to try to increase public awareness around these interconnected issues, and ultimately increase pro-animal voter turnout. Then, November 2024’s election could determine not only the future of slaughterhouses and the fur industry in Denver, but Denver’s trajectory on matters of animal rights and environmental responsibility for years to come.
Denver residents, mark your calendars for November 2024. Your vote will shape the future!
For media inquiries, or to learn more about the upcoming vote, please visit Pro-Animal Future’s official website at proanimal.org, or contact Phoenix Huber at 602-790-3980. The Denver Elections Division Communications Office can also be reached at 720-865-4861 to verify the petitions’ sufficiency status as declared 11/27/23 on the government’s website.
This Press Release was submitted by: Pro Animal Future.