MO ballot proposal approved for circulation
December 28, 2009 by Julie Harker
Brownfield Ag News
The HSUS ballot initiative cracking down on dog breeders in Missouri, which is seen as a threat to all of animal agriculture in the state, has been approved for circulation by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. While the Missouri Department of Agriculture is not able to take a stand on the proposal – which would limit operators to 50 or fewer female breeding dogs – Ag Director Jon Hagler tells Brownfield they’re well aware of the intentions behind it, “HSUS has made no secret about the fact that they’re not for ANY animal agriculture.”
Hagler says the department’s role is that of public education, “And we want to reach out and let folks know that there are no better stewards of animal welfare, no better stewards of the land than farmers and Missouri farmers have always been at the forefront of that.”
Hagler says the bad actors of dog breeding are unlicensed and that the department has and will continue to crack down on those operators, “They’re giving a bad name to not only the legitimate, professional, licensed breeders in Missouri but also to all of agriculture.”
Meanwhile, Missouri ag groups (Missouri Animal Ag Coalition) and lawmakers are coming up with strategies to meet the threat head-on. Just under 100-thousand certified signatures are needed on the so-called “Puppy Mill Cruelty Protection Act” proposal to put it before Missouri voters next November. The group called Missouri for the Protection of Dogs – supported by both the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) – has until May 2nd to collect signatures. The state legislature has the power to overturn ballot proposals that are approved by voters. Link
It’s been exciting to see family farmers and ranchers and the agriculture groups they belong to working together to protect their ability to raise animals. Look at this bill for what it really is, its intention is to restrict how many dogs you can own. The next bill that HSUS put’s forward could be to restrict how many cows, pigs or acres you can own. This proposal has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with control.