In 1996, a group calling itself Colorado PAWW (People Allied with Wildlife) formed for the purpose of passing Amendment 14, the “Colorado Prohibited Methods of Taking Wildlife” ballot Initiative. Passed by the voters with a narrow margin of 52.1 to 47.8%, the law banned the cruel practice of recreational and commercial trapping in Colorado.
In March of 1999, several of the major players from the Amendment 14 campaign formed a new organization, Political Voice for Animals, in an effort to mobilize the base of supporters who had come together to pass the initiative. The impetus for forming PVA was the passage of SB99-111; “The Release of Destructive Rodent Pests,” a law crafted to prevent the relocation of prairie dog colonies when new development destroyed their colony sites. The bill’s easy passage, as well as threats to overturn or modify pro-wildlife ballot initiatives, made it apparent that Coloradans who cared about animals needed to have a permanent presence at the state capitol.
PVA began building an “Alert Network” network to rally is supporter base, which rapidly grew to over 1,500 members. PVA sent questionnaires to lawmakers and made endorsements in congressional races, the governor’s race, and county and municipal races. However, in 2007, a decision was made to narrow the focus to the Colorado state legislature.
In 2005, PVA changed its name to Colorado Humane Voters League (CHVL) in an effort to project a mainstream image focused on the idea of holding Colorado legislators accountable at the ballot box.
As 2011 came to a close, CHVL changed its name to Colorado Voters for Animals. Today CVA’s mission is to protect animals through public policy and to support candidates who are committed to animal protection. CVA advocates for humane legislation, opposes inhumane legislation, and educates the public on issues that affect animals. Its scope encompasses wildlife, domesticated animals, and companion animals.
Today CVA’s supporter base exceeds 30,000 Coloradans – and growing. CVA conducts candidate surveys, publishes scorecards ranking how individual legislators stand on animal welfare issues, testifies at legislative hearings on animal-related bills, and works with legislators to craft bills that improve animal welfare. In addition, CVA sponsors the Colorado Legislators for Animal Welfare Caucus (CLAW), an event held at the capitol during session (January through April) that features a variety of speakers and topics to better educate legislators and the public about animal issues.
Colorado Voters for animals is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) nonprofit with an all-volunteer board comprised of professionals from a wide array of disciplines, including attorneys, veterinarians, political strategists and people passionate about animal welfare.