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More backdoor legislative moves

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Tomorrow is going to be a nasty day, weather wise and in the state legislature.

Two bills are doing to be discussed in public meetings: hJR 3 and HB 100.

HJR 3 wants to put a bill on the ballot to vote on a Constitutional amendment to ensure that no other citizen initiative that’s related to animal breeding be allowed in the future.

HB 100 adds a new statue that reads:

262.005. 1. Agriculture which provides food, energy, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, it shall be the right of citizens to raise livestock in a humane manner without the state imposing an undue economic burden on livestock owners.

2. As used in this section, the following terms shall mean:

(1) “Generally accepted scientific principles”, agricultural standards and practices established by the University of Missouri, and the most current industry standards and practices;

(2) “Humane manner”, care of livestock regarding the livestock’s health and environment in compliance with generally accepted scientific principles;

(3) “Undue economic burden”, expenses incurred resulting from changes in agricultural practices deemed legal under current state or local laws or ordinances.

Actually, agriculture is Missouri’s 4th largest industry, not it’s primary industry.

What’s disingenuous about this bill is that a newly enacted law, such as Proposition B’s Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, could be discarded because enforcement of the law could be considered an “undue economic burden” on the dog breeders. Point of fact, it could be used to undermine any reform or regulation of the agricultural industry in this state.

No other type of business is offered this form of legislative sanctuary.

Between these and all the bills to overturn Proposition B, little is getting done in this legislative session. It’s as if the cities and towns that primarily foot the bill for this state, don’t even exist. It is the tyranny of the many by the few.

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And now…the political cartoons

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

FiredUpMissouri has links to two different political cartoons related to the recent Proposition B legislative activity. I thought I would provide a long description for these cartoons for my friends using screen readers.

The first cartoon is from RJ Matson for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It features a dog, standing in a puddle and chained to a beat up dog house, with rain pouring down and lightning in the background. The dog is labeled “Puppy Mill Legislation”, and the dog house is labeled “The will of the voters”. The pole the dog is chained to has the word, “Repeal” on it. A bone lying on the ground by the dog has a label of “Prop B”. A sinister house is on a hill above the dog, labeled with “State Legislature”and in a bubble next to the house the words, “City Voters just don’t understand why we have to treat them like dogs out here.”

In the face of the dog, Matson has done an amazing job of capturing the look of hopelessness and despair of too many dogs in currently licensed commercial dog breeders. We’re heading into below zero temperatures this week, and I can’t stop thinking of the dogs that are forced to stay in outdoor kennels, 24×7, with no more than a little plastic igloo and maybe some straw or a blanket to keep them warm.

The second cartoon is from John Darkow in the Columbia Tribune and features a slick seeming politician in a shiny suit with the label “Missouri House”, tearing a ballot into pieces and telling an older, but savvy looking woman, “Sorry, lady…You didn’t know what you were doing when you voted for Prop B. We’ll do the thinking for ya! We’re sophisticates, you know!” The woman is labeled with “Voters”, as you would expect, and she has a leash in her hand, and a small dog at her side. On her other side, is a big doofus looking hayseed type of guy, with a suitcase and “Missouri House” print on its side. All the way to the right is a bold arrow with the word “Vote” above it.

Darkow did a good job mocking so many of the representative claims made this week that those of us who voted for Proposition B didn’t know what we were doing; that we in the urban settings can’t possibly know about dogs, as they live their lives at commercial breeders. After all, a dog at a breeder isn’t the same thing as a dog elsewhere. At least that’s what we’re told.

One of the commercial breeders, in fact one that keeps many of his dogs permanently in outdoor kennels (“They like it”, I remember him telling one reporter in an earlier interview), was quoted as saying, “Whoever wrote (Proposition B) has never raised an animal”.

Well, whoever is against Proposition B has never had a pet..

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Senate is first out of the gate

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The senate agricultural committee is the first with a bill to the floor to modify Proposition B. Considering that community discussion was cut off yesterday and the other bills not discussed, it’s obvious that the state senators had no interest in discussing this bill, or even in providing a pretense of fairness.

By the description, the bill they’re going with is SB 113 (fulll text of bill) from Senator Mike Parson.

The bill doubles the burden on Missouri Department of Agriculture inspectors, by requiring them to conduct multiple inspections for “serious” infractions, as well as giving breeders 30 to 180 days to correct these “serious” infractions.

What’s a serious infraction?

  • Dogs not being fed
  • Dogs not having access to clean water
  • Dogs that are seriously injured or ill not getting veterinarian care
  • Dogs kept in plastic igloos in sub-zero weather, shivering, trying to keep warm with a ratty old blanket
  • Dogs kept outdoors in 100 degree weather, without shade

No worries about fixing these infractions. By the time the inspectors return, the dogs will be dead. Problem solved.

Oh but wait, we’re not finished yet…

The bill removed the 18 month restriction for breeding and allows dogs to be bred twice in every year. This means the dogs can be bred every cycle–no rest is allowed. Have to get their money’s worth, you know.

A veterinarian doesn’t have to check out each animal annually—they can just visit the site, have a cup of coffee, and do a rubber stamp.

The wording that euthanization is only handled by trained vets has also been removed. So Billy Bob can proceed to thwapt the dogs over the head with a club.

Forget the extra cage space, and the cages can still be all wire; any exercise will be in accordance to what the vet states—you know, the vet that rubber stamps everything?

Also forget the access to clean water. That’s too much trouble for breeders in our state. Well, so is access to food at least once a day.

The dogs can be kept outdoors in freezing conditions or extremely hot weather, with no access to an indoor facility. They’re only dogs; they don’t need a break from the elements.

The 50 dog limit is removed. After all, consumers should be thrilled that the puppy they buy was raised in a factory farm setting with thousands of other puppies. So what if the puppy ends up diseased. So what if the puppy has genetic defects because the former hog farmer just shoves dogs together, without regard to genetic traits. If the puppy dies, that’s good for the kids: toughens them up, gets them ready for real life.

Gets them ready for dealing with state representatives who demonstrate that yes, Missouri law can be bought.

In other words, this bill completely and thoroughly revokes every last meaningful bit of Proposition B. It is a lie and a deception, with its pretense of being a “compromise”. The out and out repeal would have, at least, been honest.

This is what our good Missouri state senators think is “acceptable” for dogs. This is what our good Missouri state senators decided to put in place over the objections of the Missouri voters.

PS The bill also defines “pet” to be a dog, only. Your heard it here, first: your cat, your gerbil, your bird, and snake, are not “pets” in Missouri.

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Eighth bill to modify Proposition B read

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I kid you not, there is now an eighth bill about Proposition B, HB 332.

This one, sponsored by Representative Ward Franz, is confusing. It doesn’t revoke any of the Proposition B regulations. It does grandfather in existing breeders, which is something I can’t accept. It also, bizarrely, includes references to “humane societies” directly in the text. I just can’t figure out the reason why.

Regardless, grandfathering in existing commercial breeders is unacceptable. We’re supposed to turn a blind eye to the condition of the dogs in existing breeders? It’s OK for dogs to suffer in the 1400+ licensed breeders, but not for any breeder? The whole point of Proposition B is that there are problems with existing breeders, not some hypothetical breeder in the future.

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Support for Proposition B from Representative Kirkton and Senator Schmitt

I received a very gracious phone call from Senator Schmitt’s office, assuring me that the Senator “owns and loves dogs”, and that he will support Proposition B.

My House Rep, Jeanne Kirkton, supported Proposition B before the election, and continues to support it now. In fact, her office has been kind enough to help me attempt to get some information from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

I appreciate both my state representatives supporting Proposition B AND my vote.