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Monday, January 28, 2013

Ag entities meeting today in Pierre; animal advocates not invited

According to a recent story on WNAX Lobbyist Mike Held with the South Dakota Farm Bureau stated Ag groups are getting together today in Pierre to talk about SB 171. No one from SDFACT was invited to participate, in fact, we contacted all SD Ag groups asking to speak at their meeting and we received no response.

If you are a member of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, contact Executive Director Wayne Smith and Lobbyist Mike Held and let them know you want to see SB 171 passed in 2013.

We’d also like to correct Mr. Held’s remarks in the story:

1) These efforts are not coming from “out of state animal rights activists”. SDFACT is volunteer effort based right here in South Dakota and we are not getting ANY funding from HSUS or any other agency.

2) “Many ranchers use horses to work cattle”. This bill is only for aggravated cruelty that is malicious and intentional. An accident or injury that happens while herding cattle would not be applicable under this bill (assuming the owner gets the animal treatment and doesn't let it needlessly suffer).

You can read the complete bill at http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2013/Bills/SB171P.pdf and see for yourself that it will NOT affect agriculture in ANY way.

It seems Mr. Held is also concerned about the prospect of a ballot initiative and what it could cost agriculture to defeat. SB 171 has been introduced and our goal is to see it passed in 2013. Although animal advocates are frustrated, there has been no discussion of a ballot initiative because we believe the South Dakota Legislature will pass SB 171 because it is what South Dakotans want. We wish to discuss the merits of SB 171 and we dismiss attempts by Ag opposition to link SDFACT and all South Dakota animal advocates with national animal rights activists. Battling misinformation from Ag entities and their lack of interest in including South Dakota animal advocates in the conversation makes the battle to get SB 171 out of committee and to the Senate floor even greater. Please contact members of the senate Ag Committee today via this link: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2013/CommitteeMembers.aspx?Committee=2 and urge a 'do pass' of SB 171.

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