ND farm groups opposing animal cruelty measure

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota farm groups say they'll oppose an anti-animal cruelty measure if it gets on the ballot.

The initiative would make it a felony crime to commit aggravated cruelty against a cat, dog or horse -- such as burning, suffocating and beating to death. The punishment could be up to five years in prison.

The North Dakota Stockmen's Association, the Farm Bureau and the Farmers Union are among the organizations that don't like the idea.

Farmers Union President Woody Barth says the measure uses "inflammatory language" and doesn't talk about the most common forms of animal mistreatment in North Dakota.

Supporters of the measure turned in more than 25,000 signatures to Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Tuesday. They only need about 13,500 names to qualify for the November election.