Protect The Harvest | Opinion: Colorado’s top animal-protection officer is not a friend of livestock producers

Will the Agriculture Department have our back? From an opinion piece in the Colorado Sun by Janie VanWinkle Mar 18, 2022 I am a 4th-generation livestock producer in Mesa County. At VanWinkle Ranch, we make our living by stewarding the land and caring for the animals we have responsibility for. There is dignity and honor in the work that we do to support food security in our county, state, nation, and globally. We have some serious concerns regarding the appointment of the Director of the Bureau of Animal Protection in the Colorado Department of Agriculture, as well as the process that was used. It was announced in February that Dr. Rebecca Niemiec will be the director. Dr. Niemiec has significant ties to animal-welfare groups that are loudly opposed to livestock production for food. She is currently leading a project in conjunction with the City of Boulder and Mercy For Animals, which is dedicated to diminishing food animals from our food system in favor of “plant-based products.” As consumers and livestock producers, this is a very large, and a very red, flag for us that this person may not have the best interests of all food production, including food animals, at heart and be able to act impartially in these matters. Dr. Niemiec is a Science Advisory Board member of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, which is an advocate for introduction of wolves into the communities where our fellow producers care for their livestock.