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Ballot Measures

Overview

The Humane Society Legislative Fund, along with The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups, recognizes the usefullness of the ballot measure and ballot initiative process in states that allow them. Sometimes the animal protection movement can effectively utilize the ballot measure process to mobilize citizens to protect animals from the industries that seek to profit from animal abuse.

Since 1990, there has been a proliferation of animal protection initiatives, largely spearheaded by the organizing efforts of The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. We approach the initiatives in a highly professional manner; carefully identifying issues in demographically favorable states, organizing volunteer petitioners, conducting public attitude surveys, raising money, and persuading voters.

Between 1990 and 2010, animal protection advocates squared off against factory farmers, trophy hunters, and other animal-use industries in 44 statewide ballot measure campaigns, winning 30 campaigns—a 69% success rate. The animal protection movement has had great success in carefully selecting and winning initiative and referendum campaigns on behalf of animals. Unfortunately, anti-animal industries that profit from the inhumane treatment of animals have tried, sometimes successfully, to deny access to the initiative process. Fortunately, The HSUS, HSLF and other groups have largely been successful in defeating these counter-measures and will continue to be diligent in our efforts to safeguard the process, propose animal protection initiatives and referenda, and stop the animal-use industries’ attempts at overturning our efforts.


Current Ballot Measures

NOVEMBER 6 UPDATE: This ballot measure did not pass. Please visit the blog to read more.

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, a coalition of state and national groups including the Wildlife Alliance of Maine and The Humane Society of the United States, announced the launch of a ballot initiative to end the inhumane and unsporting practices of bear hounding, baiting and trapping. The Maine Fair Bear Hunting Act would align Maine with much of the rest of the country by enacting long-overdue protections for the bear population and preserving traditional, fair-chase bear hunting. Maine is the only state in the country that allows all three of these particularly cruel and unsportsmanlike methods of killing bears statewide, and these practices are not necessary for bear management. 

NOVEMBER 6 UPDATE: This ballot measure passedPlease visit the blog to read more.

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is a coalition of conservation groups, animal welfare organizations, wildlife professionals, hunters, ranchers, and other Michigan citizens working to protect Michigan's fragile wolf population. Wolves have been on the protected list in Michigan for nearly 50 years. There are fewer than 700 wolves in Michigan and their numbers are only now starting to recover. It's not right to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be killed for sport.

In response to overwhelming disaffection from Michigan wolf supporters over an effort by some legislators to subvert their original ballot measure, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed language with the Secretary of State to launch a second referendum campaign to stop the trophy hunting and trapping of wolves and restore the right of Michigan voters to weigh in on critical wildlife issues.

“This second referendum will preserve the impact of our first referendum that has already been certified for the ballot – ensuring Michigan voters have the right to protect wolves and other wildlife matters,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “Michiganders deserve to have their voices heard on the wolf issue, and we hope they’ll have an opportunity to vote on two ballot measures next year to do just that.”