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Anti-agriculture measures proposed

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

At the end of 2023, secretive plans were constructed to outlaw the use of slaughterhouses and prohibit fur sales in the city and county of Denver.

In November, it was confirmed two ballot measures – Prohibition of Slaughterhouses and Prohibition of Fur Products – introduced by Pro-Animal Future (PAF), received enough signatures to make it on the 2024 ballot.

In 2024, Denver voters will be asked to vote on both measures led by PAF, an organization which builds political movements to end factory farming.

“Created by the U.S.-based animal rights organization Pax Fauna, PAF is a collective of voters, volunteers and small donors building a political movement to end factory farming and is a 501(c)(4) political organization,” reads their website.

PAF is comprised of volunteer animal rights extremists in the Denver area with a handful of actual employees. The organization relies on recruiting volunteers to gather petition signatures in an effort to change laws in Denver.

“PAF’s initiative to ban slaughterhouses in Denver is only the opening barrage in the group’s crusade to eliminate all slaughterhouses in America,” states Protect the Harvest. “The group hopes momentum from its Denver effort will encourage other cities to ban slaughterhouses and want to send a strong message across the nation.”

Protect the Harvest is an organization with a mission to inform and educate Americans about the activities of animal extremist groups, anti-agriculture groups and other non-governmental organizations who threaten agriculture, animal welfare, agricultural traditions and way of life.

Banning slaughterhouses

According to Denver’s Office of the Clerk and Recorder, the following title was accepted, and the ballot measure states, “Shall the voters of the city and county of Denver adopt an ordinance prohibiting slaughterhouses, and in connection, beginning Jan 1, 2026, prohibiting the construction, maintenance or use of slaughterhouses within the city and requiring the city to prioritize residents whose employment is affected by the ordinance in workforce training or employment assistance programs.”

The ordinance targets facilities which process meat defined as livestock under Colorado law, including beef, lamb, poultry, pork, etc.

If the measure passes, Superior Farms, Inc., the largest lamb processor in the U.S., will be impacted by the change, as it is located within Denver city limits. 

Years ago, several livestock production facilities operated just across the river from the Denver Stockyards where cattle and lamb were fed, then walked over the bridge into the packing plant.

Superior Farms, Inc., an employee-owned lamb abattoir, has been in business for decades and employs around 170 workers. It is the only slaughterhouse inside the city, although several other processing plants for beef and pork operate inside the city limits of Denver, as well.

Rick Stott, chief executive officer of Superior Farms, Inc., discussed the proposed initiative with MEAT+POULTRY during the Annual Meat Conference held in April.

“The goal of the people who are proposing this is to eliminate animal ag in the state of Colorado. That’s their stated goal. They took it off of their website for now, but this is what they want to do,” Stott states. “Superior Farms, Inc. is the only lamb company with a nationwide footprint that services national retailers.”

He continues, “If the plant shuts down, not only would jobs be eliminated, about one-half of Superior’s lamb suppliers would have to find another packing plant to go to, making it devastating for the American lamb industry.”

Passing of the ballot measure in November would cost the city of Denver $70 million to compensate the company for forced closure.

In a statement released by the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) Board of Directors, “The proposed ban is a direct attack on agriculture, not only statewide but nationally, and we are deeply concerned this is a beachhead for the industry. The ripple effect could embolden a similar statewide effort.”

In 2022, the Colorado Department of Agriculture reported Colorado was home to 430,000 sheep and lambs of all classes and is second in the nation for wool production, second for market sheep and lamb production and third for overall sheep and lamb production. 

The sheep industry in Colorado makes up a good portion of the state’s $5 billion livestock industry.

The measure would also require the city to help slaughterhouse workers with workforce training and employment assistance programs, but it is unclear how many employees might be affected if it is approved.

“This is not just about us,” Stott says. “This is about the entire protein industry. If they can do this in the Cowtown of Denver, then they can probably do it in Omaha, Neb. They can do it in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, etc. – all of the towns that are very liberal and have packing plants.”

Banning fur sales

The second measure states, “Shall the voters of the city and county of Denver adopt an ordinance concerning a prohibition of fur products, and in connection, beginning July 1, 2025, prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, display, sale or trade of certain animal fur products in the city and providing limited exceptions to the prohibition.”

The potential law would go into effect in 2025 and give exemptions for secondhand fur and Indigenous fur trading. Boulder, Colo. passed a similar measure in 2021.

The fur ballot initiative would only “target the continued factory farming and trapping of animals for luxury fashion sales,” according to Pro-Animal Future Spokesperson Phoenix Huber.

But, NWSS says the no-fur initiative would affect a broad range of products, including coats, handbags, wallets, shoes, gloves, rugs and cowboy hats. As a result, many NWSS vendors would be unable to attend and sell their goods at the show or anywhere else in Denver.

The NWSS Board of Directors has authorized funds to be invested into stopping both ballot measures this November.

Other state initiatives

The state of New York has similar legislation prohibiting the opening of new slaughterhouses within 1,500 feet of residences throughout New York City, which has been in place since 2008. 

The moratorium is set to expire at the end of this year, but Voters For Animal Rights are working to keep the prohibition in place.

Across the country in California, not only did the state recently pass Proposition 12 and ban fur sales in 2023, it is currently proposing a ban on octopus factory farming. It also has ballot measures in Berkley, Calif.  and Sonoma County, which would ban factory farms within the city and county.

While Berkeley, Calif. currently does not have factory farms, if the measure passes, a horse racing track will be shut down.

These initiatives are a step to ban industrial animal agriculture, which can be replicated elsewhere if passed and have a ripple effect throughout the entire country.

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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