#ShowingUp hits inboxes with over 13,000 signatures

ShowingUp for Colorado agriculture made an appearance in the inbox of every member of the Senate, Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg, state auditor Dianne Ray, and Colorado Boards and Commissions Director Kate Siegel Shimko Thursday.

It was sent with the full support of The Fence Post editor Rona Johnson and publisher Bree Poppe.

The letter below was sent urging a no vote when Ellen Kessler’s appointment to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine comes before the full Senate. Attached to the email were two pdf files, one was a 71-page document of comments opposing Kessler’s appointment and one was a 579-page list of e-signatures supporting the letter.

It should be noted Kessler’s appointment will not be voted upon until January so another round of letters, calls and emails will have to be sent as the confirmation vote approaches.

The Colorado Livestock Association also sent a letter to the governor, Ag Commissioner Kate Greenberg, and members of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The letter, signed by CLA president Dwain Weinrich and CEO Bill Hammerich, was sent on behalf of the multi-species organization in support of the state’s $4.6 billion agriculture industry and the veterinarians who serve it.

At presstime, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, and an aide for Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, are the only recipients to respond.

Dear Senators,

Ellen Kessler, who was recently appointed to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine, posted on her personal social media account that, “4-H clubs teach children that animal lives don’t matter.” Kessler is an outspoken vegan and advocate for others to do the same. Her deep-seated opposition to animal agriculture is troubling for someone in such a role.

I respectfully request that this grave conflict of interest be given consideration prior to Kessler’s confirmation vote during the upcoming legislative session and encourage your vote against her confirmation. Supporting Colorado’s agriculture industry has never been more important.

As a member of the Colorado Board of Veterinary Medicine, this appointee will be asked to guide and enforce professional standards for veterinary practitioners. She’ll also be tasked with making, amending and adopting reasonable rules that govern the conduct of veterinarians, including veterinarians who serve the state’s many large animal and food animal clients.

The members of the state board are given the responsibility of interpreting the veterinary practice law onto many specific cases in a fair and equitable manner that is in keeping with the intention of the law. Such interpretation is very much at the mercy of the individual board member’s ability or inability to remove their own personal bias or agenda from the equation. The long-established and science-based practices of a medical profession should not be placed on the whim of one individual with a deeply ingrained political belief. Veterinarians have dedicated decades of their lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars to establish their professional career and this gives one person with a personal agenda the power to dismantle their career and reputation permanently.

Due to Kessler’s previous statements, I do not believe she will be able to reasonably carry out the great responsibility of overseeing the veterinarians so vital to the agriculture industry. This conflict of interest could be disastrous, even driving desperately needed rural practitioners out of the state. With the state already experiencing a shortage of such practitioners, this would be a blow to the agriculture industry and the people who depend upon it.

Please find approximately 13,000 attached e-signatures to this letter as well as 71 pages of additional comments made by agriculture stakeholders, producers, and consumers in opposition of Kessler’s appointment.

Yours in agriculture,

Rachel Gabel

cc: Governor Jared Polis, Conor Cahill, Kate Siegel Shimko, Dianne Ray, Kate Greenberg ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at or (970) 768-0024.