Steve Sulland, Grand Forks
I have been following the attempts to increase the penalties for animal abuse for the past several years. I have supported efforts to increase the penalties by contacting legislators and letters to the editors of several state newspapers.
When I stand back and look at what has transpired, it appears that this is a classic case of professional politicians, powerful lobbyists, and people with clout making quick work of persistent but painfully powerless proponents swinging at shadows in their vain attempts to change not only the laws but societies views of what is considered appropriate behavior when it comes to the treatment of animals.
My memory is weak but it seems that about five minutes after news broke that an initiated measure was being prepared to bring the matter to the voters, opponents were in the news discrediting supporters as being puppets of the Humane Society of the United States and that the measure was being driven by out of state entities Hell bent on forcing their beliefs on the good folks of North Dakota. Throughout the process of getting Measure 5 approved, distributed for signatures and submitted for approval by the Secretary of State to be placed on the ballot, the opponents continued to spread doubt among voters. It is human nature to decline anything one is unsure of. This is shown by the initial overwhelming support of Measure 5 only to be have it go down in defeat following a major effort by the opponents, a well organized effort I might add, to defeat the measure.
The main talking points against the measure was the involvement of the HSUS and the fact that a group that included representatives from animal shelters, legislators, members of the ag community, and countless others were in the process of drafting a bill that was to be introduced during the current legislative session and that it would have no trouble being passed into law. As we are witnessing now, there seems to be trouble with the passage of the bill prepared by the coalition of experts.
This brings me to my conclusion that not all conspiracy theories are hatched beneath hovering black helicopters. It may not be much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that the powers that be who find it in their best interests, for whatever reason, to delay or permanently kill any changes in the laws to protect animals will prevail once again.