Animal welfare on state ballots in November

States across the country on Nov. 8 will vote on initiatives on factory farming, wildlife trafficking and other animal protection issues.

Over the past 25 years, voters have approved more than 30 animal welfare ballot measures — halting cockfighting, the use of steel-jawed leg-hold traps, captive hunts for exotic animals, confinement of farm animals in cages and crates, bear baiting and more.

“There are enormous stakes in the November elections and that is also true for animals,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said in a news release. “Our society is increasingly hostile to animal cruelty and voters have the opportunity to strengthen our laws and shield animals from abuse. Animal cruelty is not acceptable, and I am confident that voters will approve social reforms that will advance the cause of animal protection.”

A look at several questions to be decided on Election Day:

In Oklahoma, animal advocates are opposing State Question 777, a measure to adopt a “right to farm” amendment to the state constitution.

Passage would protect corporate interests and foreign-owned big agribusiness at the expense of Oklahoma’s family farmers, land and animals, according to The Humane Society.

The measure is so broadly worded that it could prevent future restrictions on any “agricultural” practice, including puppy mills, horse slaughter and raising game fowl for cockfighting.

In Massachusetts, voters will decide Question 3, which would phase out extreme confinement of veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens in small crates and cages where they are virtually immobilized for their entire lives.

Passage also would remove inhumane and unsafe products from the Massachusetts marketplace.

The ballot question is backed by the MSPCA, Animal Rescue League of Boston, Zoo New England and hundreds of Massachusetts veterinarians and family farmers. More than 170,000 Massachusetts voters signed petitions to place Question 3 on the ballot.

In Oregon, voters will decide Measure 100, which would help save endangered sea turtles, elephants, rhinos and other wild animals threatened with poaching and extinction.

Measure 100 would ensure that Oregon does not provide a market for endangered species products resulting from wildlife poaching and trafficking.

If passed, Oregon would join California, Washington, Hawaii and other states in shutting down local markets for those who seek to profit from destructive wildlife trade.

TripAdvisor takes stand on animal exploitation

TripAdvisor says it will no longer sell bookings to attractions where travelers can make physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species.

“TripAdvisor’s new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,” said Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s president.

TripAdvisor specifically mentioned elephant rides, swim-with-the-dolphins programs and tiger petting.