Oregon SB85 Rulemaking - Animal Rights Groups

Animal Extremist Groups Pushing to Impact the Oregon SB85 Rulemaking Process

Last summer, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed into law Senate Bill 85. This new law requires farmers looking to apply for a new permit for a dairy, poultry, or pork farm, egg farm, beef cattle feed yard – essentially any facility feeding and housing a specific number of animals - to submit a water use plan to the Oregon Department of Water Resources. Additionally, according to an article by Progressive Farmer, SB 85 placed a cap on stock water usage to 12,000 gallons per day. A farm, ranch, or other animal operation “needing more water above the cap have to prove they have legal access to it.” SB85 also allows for counties to stipulate undetermined setbacks. This language was recently used in Linn County, requiring a poultry farm to have a one-mile setback from its buildings to the property line of a neighboring property.

According to an article on the website Waging NonViolence, “SB 85 is the product of a years-long organized effort, whose ultimate goal is to pass a full moratorium on new (large modern) farms in Oregon.” In addition to focusing on Oregon the article also discussed the importance of this perceived “win” by stating, “More work remains to be done – but the win could provide a template for pushing back against the powerful (large modern) farm industry in the Pacific Northwest and beyond…it is possible to envision an effort to end (large modern) farming through a combination of regulatory actions and outright bans.”

The Groups Behind SB 85

Many producers and most lawmakers are unaware that the groups behind pushing laws and regulations impacting animal ownership and animal agriculture aim to end any use of animals for food, fiber, pharmaceuticals, and other valuable, everyday products. These groups are patient and work in increments. They find a vulnerable area, push for laws, and then come back for more. Ultimately, there is no compromising with these groups. The situation in Oregon with SB 85 is no different. The groups behind it have a long history of pushing for legislation and regulations designed to harm animal agriculture. A coalition was formed under the name “Stand up to Factory Farms” (SUTFF), and that coalition was behind SB85. This coalition is made up of known fringe groups involved in actions against animal agriculture across the country. The bios of the coalition member groups, as well as links to their websites, can be found on the SUTFF website.

Some of the groups named in the coalition are as follows:

  • Stand up to Factory Farms – An animal rights group aligned with the coalition members listed here. They are vying to end animal agriculture in the state of Oregon and they are very clear about it on their website. They were the most active group behind SB 85, and now, with rulemaking around the corner, they have launched a campaign against large modern farms with a week of action that includes letter writing, protests, and petitions to the Governor and Oregon lawmakers.
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund – An animal liberation group based in Oregon that pushes its ideology via legislation, regulations, and lawsuits.
  • Center for Biological Diversity—This environmental group, mostly made up of lawyers, partners with animal rights groups on a wide range of issues. If something is happening in the country that is harming farmers or ranchers, the Center for Biological Diversity is highly likely involved in some capacity.
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) – This group gains funding by presenting itself as an organization that helps dogs and cats. It uses the funds raised to push its larger animal rights agenda of ending animal agriculture. It is very common to see the ASPCA partnered with other known animal extremist groups in activities across the nation.
  • Mercy for Animals – This well-known fringe ideological group is determined to end animal ownership and animal agriculture and has partnered with other groups to push laws, ordinances, and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels of government.
  • Humane Voters Oregon – An animal rights group that pushes to end animal agriculture in the state by endorsing lawmakers they influence and issuing “scorecards” on their voting records.
  • Columbia Riverkeepers – This group partners with other environmental and animal rights groups. They are behind the efforts to keep large modern farms out of the state of Oregon. According to their website, they stopped a large dairy from opening and were instrumental in stopping poultry producers from building facilities in Linn County, Oregon.
  • Food and Water Watch—This environmental legal group partners with animal rights groups and other environmental groups, like the Center for Biological Diversity, to harm animal agriculture. Like CBD, it is not uncommon to find this group listed as a partner or supporter in actions against agriculture.
  • Oregon Rural Action – A “rural action” group we suspect is affiliated with the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP). The Socially Responsible Agriculture Project is staffed with lawyers and other animal agriculture activists and has been active across the country, forming “cell” groups in communities to target large modern farms. SRAP published a document available on the web titled “Guide to Confronting Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Oregon”.

New Laws and Rulemaking – Producers Should Be Vigilant

Oregon already has laws regarding confined animal feeding operations. The current regulations are directed under the Clean Water Act (CWA), which already has strict guidelines to protect the United States' waterways. Other states have similar water regulations for operations that house and feed a large number of animals, so a law like SB 85 is not unusual but is unnecessary.

In this case, the law was pushed by animal and environmental ideological groups, who are now pushing for more regulations via rulemaking. Rulemaking is the implementation process of lawmaking. Often, during rulemaking, a law that started out as a good idea can quickly go off the rails. For too long, producers have taken a hands-off approach to rulemaking, hoping that “someone will do something”. This stance has allowed these fringe groups to push an anti-animal agriculture narrative and implement egregious regulations that have put many producers out of business which has ultimately helped to drive consolidation.

Oregon has opened up a comment period regarding rulemaking for SB 85, and we encourage both individual producers and producer groups to step up so that they can be certain to have a seat at the table and a voice with proper representation. Since AGPROfessionals has producer clients in the state, our team is in the process of preparing a comment to include in the rulemaking process on behalf of their needs and interests.

Large Modern Farms Provide Affordable – Nutrient-Dense Food

We know that shortly as a part of the SB 85 rulemaking process, Governor Tina Kotek and other Oregon lawmakers are going to receive a stack of letters and an Action Network petition with (1,250 signatures as of this writing) from people who oppose animal agriculture and large modern farms. It is interesting to note that previously Governor Tina Kotek began her public service career as a policy advocate for the Oregon Food Bank. We hope Governor Kotek and other Oregon lawmakers understand that providing affordable, nutrient-dense food is a hallmark of large modern farms. If feeding the people of Oregon is still important to them, we ask that the viewpoints and needs of the people who are producing the food for their constituents be considered instead of the ideological agenda of fringe groups vying to end animal agriculture and animals in human care. The old adage, “consider the source” certainly comes to mind in this situation.

Link to information about submitting a comment regarding Oregon SB85 HERE

Additional Links

Progressive Farmer DTN article about Oregon SB 85 HERE

Bio - Oregon Governor Tina Kotek HERE and ALDF article HERE

Oregon Capital Chronicle article about Governor Kotek and SB 85 HERE

Oregon Capital Chronicle article about farmers packing legislative hearing HERE

SRAP Document - Confronting CAFOs in Oregon HERE

Information about Stand Up for Factory Farms Coalition HERE

Action Network Petition HERE

Humane Voters of Oregon Week of Action HERE