Missouri's Puppy Mills and Proposition B: An Act in Many Parts
Proposition B is about dogs, nothing more, nothing less.
Though Proposition B has been covered on hundreds of sites and in countless discussions—on TV and radio, in print, and in person—the Columbia Missourian, a student run publication managed by the School of Journalism of the University of Missouri, has remained the ground zero of all debate. In the threads to the many Proposition B articles and letters at this publication you'll see representatives from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), members from both HumaneWatch and Stop HumaneWatch, rescue and shelter volunteers and workers, veterinarians, commercial dog breeders, hobby and show breeders, agricultural representatives, as well as just plain folk like myself from both sides of the issue.
I invite you all to the new town hall in politics, and the debate on Proposition B:
- GUEST COMMENTARY: Prop B would improve lives of dogs
- Humane Society president urges passage of Proposition B
- LETTER: Proposition B, a reasonable measure to protect dogs, won't harm reputable breeders
- Today's Question: What do you think about Proposition B?
- LETTER: Prop B 'sounds cruel'
- Out-of-state donors backing Missouri ballot issue campaigns
- Proposition B TV advertising backed by out-of-state money
- TODAY'S QUESTION: Is there too much money coming from out-of-state to support Proposition B?
- LETTER: Love man's best friend and support Proposition B
- A comparison of current and proposed dog breeding laws
- Prop B elicits strong emotions as vote nears
- La Russa promotes Missouri measure on dog breeders
- LETTER: Show both sides of the Prop B debate
- J. KARL MILLER: Tasers and breeding laws aren't broken, so no need to try and fix them
- LETTER: Prop B about limiting freedom, not taking care of dogs
- LETTER: Prop B provides common-sense standards, not extremism
- Campaign donations for and against Proposition B increase as election nears
- Proposition B enforcement details remain fuzzy as election nears
- GUEST COMMENTARY: Proposition B not the right answer to problem
- Proposal would place more restrictions on dog breeders
- ROSE NOLEN: Respecting animals, nature important to previous Missouri farmers
- Vets and breeders discuss impact of Prop B on dogs' health
- LETTER: Proposition B provides clear guidance to inspectors
- TODAY'S QUESTION: Which local and statewide issues will you vote to pass?
- Letter: Vote Yes on Proposition B
- Organization Calls for Investigation of Dead Dogs - In my opinion, releasing this report just before the election was a mistake. Using the photos from the report in TV ads, doubly so.
- DAVID ROSMAN: Propositions A and B are good ideas, bad proposals
- LETTER: Unlicensed breeders unlikely to follow new law
- LETTER: Rose Nolen should consider who is behind Proposition B
- GEORGE KENNEDY: An opinionated voter's guide for Tuesday
- Breeders fearful of tighter rules under Prop B
- LETTER: Prop B opponents don't condone mistreatment of animals
- Proposition B would create stricter standards for dog breeding and little else
All too frequently in the article comments, the discussion focused on HSUS, and the ongoing debate between it and agricultural interests. This was unfortunate because Proposition B is important enough to be discussed on its own merits.
My support for Proposition B remains strong and unwavering. I have come to develop a sense of empathy, though, for those who will be impacted by Proposition B. Oh, not the bad breeders; they I could gleefully shut down with nary a backward glance. But there will be people impacted who have followed the existing rules and feel they are being treated unfairly. I do feel sympathy for their concerns.
However, Proposition B is not only the right thing to do for the dogs, in the end it is the right thing to do for Missouri. We cannot continue with the dubious titles of "Puppy Mill capital of the US" or "Dog Auction capital of the US". And we can't continue to pretend that dogs are nothing more than livestock; that as long as they get enough to eat, drink, room to stretch, and protection from elements, this is sufficient for them to be "happy". You can't breed an animal for 15,000 years to be our companions, helpers, and friends, and then suddenly isolate them in cages in big factory farms and say they're "happy".
Agriculture is about food, fiber, and by-product, and in the US, dogs don't fit into any of these categories.
Of all the movies that have been linked for Proposition —of horrid breeders where dogs are starved, left unprotected in freezing conditions, untreated when ill, and bred until they drop—the one movie that impacted on me the most shows none of this. In fact, it is a movie of a Missouri Blue Ribbon kennel, considered the best of the large scale commercial dog breeders.
Dogs are not livestock.
Large scale commercial dog breeding is an industry that has no future. When you have millions of dogs euthanized every year, factory farms that attempt to produce thousands of puppies a year are wasteful and inhumane. Several states have enacted stricter commercial dog breeding laws, while other states are focusing on closing down pet stores that sell dogs and cats. This is in addition to an increasing legal challenge to industries that push sick puppies out to the public, and consumers own growing awareness of the dangers of buying puppies over the internet or at a puppy store. While legitimate breeders should continue to flourish, the end of the large scale dog farm is inevitable.
If you live in Missouri, please vote for Proposition B. Regardless of whether you do or don't, please support your local shelters and dog rescue organizations. And a reminder: Proposition B is as much about hope, as it is about correction.
- Full text of Proposition B
- Vote Yes on Proposition B
- The Humane Society of the United States
- Stop HumaneWatch
- Missouri State Auditor reports on animal enforcement Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation
- Wayne Pacelle and the USDA report and PUPS
- The BBB report on puppy mills and animal law enforcement in Missouri
- Missouri's Dirty Dozen
For those eligible to vote in this week's election: Wherever you are, however you believe, please vote on Tuesday. The government you get, is the government you make.
Shelley Powers posts the oddest assortment of links amidst the tiniest of blurbs on Twitter, @shelleypowers