Grazing Animals Seized, ALDF Funded Prosecutor?

Excerpt below…(all emphasis added by PD)……….We encourage ALL animal owners to read and become aware—– AR groups want it all. and they stop at nothing……….

*The farmers are being prosecuted by the only special prosecutor in the nation whose salary is being paid by a special interest group, Animal Legal Defense Fund, by a special grant to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty.

Is Justice Blind?

We now find ourselves battling something far more intimidating and frightening than even Mother Nature. We’re battling our justice system. Lady Justice is supposed to be objective and impartial, and she is often represented wearing a blindfold. But justice does not seem blind when you’re being prosecuted by someone whose salary is paid by a special interest group.

Especially when you’re a rancher and the special interest group is an animal rights organization. Is this “prosecution” or “persecution?” The Animal Legal Defense Fund would like to see all animals have the same rights as human beings. They would like a society where animals are not consumed as meat or kept as livestock.

If you want to know more about their agenda and their goals, you can read about them yourself on their website. One book they’re promoting is The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals by James McWilliams. The ALDF staff writer blogging about this title makes the claim that, “the reality is cruelty to animals exists on smaller, so-called ‘humane’ farms as well as on industrial-scale ‘factory farms.’” Simply put, their belief is that we’re cruel because we’re ranchers.

This organization has decided to change the things they don’t like in society by “expanding” the law. Their goal is to litigate and set as much precedent as possible to give animals the same rights as humans. To serve this goal, they have developed an Animal Law program that is now taught in many colleges and universities across the United States, including Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon where Jacob Kamins attended school.

Our small livestock business is the target of their (the Animal Legal Defense Fund) precedent-setting efforts. We believe we are a test case. Specifically, we believe they are using the cattle industry’s body condition scoring tool to set a precedent that defines a neglected cow as a cow rated as 3 on this scale of 1 – 9.

This is not a law enforcement or legislative tool. A 3 rated cow is considered thin but within the normal range for beef cattle. It’s a management tool for cattle producers.

The vet the county had inspect our cattle after the seizure did not score any of them below 3. It’s shocking to think what it will mean to ranchers and livestock producers all over the country if we are successfully prosecuted for making decisions and treating animals within the boundaries of industry standards.

If law enforcement prosecutes every rancher who loses animals, has thin animals among their herd, doesn’t feed them as much as someone else thinks they should be fed, has animals outdoors in bad weather, or does not call a veterinarian every time there may be a problem, then there will be no one left to raise pastured, grass-fed meat free from drugs and antibiotics.

Your Food is Going Underground

Despite the fact that our ranch is in a district zoned for agriculture and is located in an agricultural area, we realize that we will probably not be able to continue to ranch here. We are clearly not welcome. Neighbors and law enforcement do not have the experience or knowledge to understand what we do.

Our business is conducted out in the open, so anyone who passes by can misunderstand and pass judgement. The consequence is that your food supply system will continue to be driven underground. More and more of it will occur in remote and isolated locations where the public cannot gain access to see what happens to these animals. More and more of it will occur in industrial-type buildings where so many hogs and chickens are already raised out of sight in disturbing and thoroughly inhumane environments. And you will have less and less access to real food produced by farmers and ranchers in your immediate locale. You will have less and less ability to buy real food directly from a farmer.

Please Help

Our legal fees are growing well beyond our ability to pay them. Our attorneys have expressed confidence that we have committed no crime. We are hopeful that we will prevail in the event of a trial. For now we are facing major losses.

The judge, hearing our case, has ordered that all the animals we are charged with neglecting will be forfeited by 4 p.m. Pacific Time, Thursday, June 11 unless we pay a bond of $39,780. (The Special “Persecutor” sought to force us to forfeit every single animal that was seized and their offspring despite the fact that we were accused of insufficiently feeding a fraction of the animals that they seized from us.)

Our attorneys have told us that they will be appealing this decision but to expect to pay a bond if we want to keep our animals. If we do not post the bond, the animals will be sold and all proceeds of the sale will go to Union County giving them a financial windfall of as much as $25,000-$30,000 beyond their costs of caring for the animals since the seizure.

If we lose our business, it’s the Animal Legal Defense Fund that wins. To win the legal battle and lose everything in the process is a loss for us, our community, our customers, and the ranching industry overall. Please help us to keep this from happening. Your donation will help pay our legal costs and the costs associated with getting our seized animals returned. Your donation will keep us in business while we resolve this criminal case, so we can move forward into a future where everyone can “Know your farmer. Know your food.”

See our Pledgie campaign here.

Thank you,

Ross Painter and Ava Denton, ranchers


Pledgie Campaign

Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund

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