Critters Legal, Laws, and Regs Voting

This fight is not over

I see that Missouri Farmers Care has moved on from fighting for the puppy mills and is now fighting for genetically modified foods. I expect next we’ll see an article about the healthful benefits of CAFO manure lagoons.

Governor Nixon signed SB 161. That’s all that’s happened. He signed a bill that gutted Proposition B. Oh, a few token provisions have been left, but you and I know that the breeders will find their way around these new provisions. I do not expect to see much change in the large scale commercial dog breeding operations in this state.

I remember, either from an article or during the House or Senate debates, someone asking one of the SB 113/SB 161 folks, “Were the breeders asked about the new SB 161 provisions, and if so, were they happy with them? Did they agree with them?” How very nice for agribusiness in Missouri that they have the final say on regulations impacting on them. Most businesses just have to accept what comes their way, but not agribusiness. Not in Missouri.

Regardless of the hypocrisy, and the total disregard for the voters—not to mention Nixon’s patronizing attitude about what we voters “meant” and how SB 161 is “good enough”—this fight is not over.

I imagine there might be legal challenges to the new law, especially the emergency provision. We also know there’s at least one ballot item being put forward for 2012 that will prevent such arrogant brushing aside of the voters wishes in the future. In the meantime, though, I am following my plan on exposing large scale commercial breeders to the world.

The breeders will never know if that person who contacts them about the puppies they’re selling online is a genuine buyer, or someone checking to see what excuse they give for not allowing the potential buyer to visit.

The FTC and the Missouri Attorney General work to protect consumers from deliberate misrepresentation and fraud. That cute little web site that states the breeder is a small family breeder with only a few dogs, better have exactly that, or they will find themselves at the end of an FTC and/or Missouri Attorney General complaint.

Starting the day after Proposition B would have gone into effect, every bad breeder that should be closed down, and would have been closed down under Proposition B’s more stringent guidelines will be exposed to the world—along with the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s laxity in enforcing true standards. With each publication, the names of the representatives, and Governor Nixon’s, will be included in the coverage—as a reminder of what they have enabled.

I also plan on spending a lot of time among the boxes of inspection records at the Department of Agriculture in Jefferson City. We’ll see exactly what that 1.1 million of extra money designated by Nixon buys us. It better buy us a lot, and not just fluff pieces on web sites.

I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to say, “Oh, well, we tried. Buck up, poochies”. This isn’t the end of the fight, it is only the beginning.

Places Political

Poor, Black, and Ugly

Missouri’s Governor Nixon asked the Missouri Attorney General to file suit in court to block the Army Corps of Engineers from blowing up the Birds Point Levee.

Blowing the levee will flood farmland and about 100 homes in Missouri, but not blowing the levee could very well endanger the entire town of Cairo, Illinois. A few years back, I wrote about Cairo, Illinois the town that pulls you in, as it pushes you away.

When Time covered Cairo, Illinois last year it described the town as poor, black, and ugly. It is, indeed, very poor and predominately black, but I cannot find it ugly. Or if I do, it’s an ugliness that reflects the south and our history and the civil rights fight and all that is both good and bad about this part of the country.

I guess the best description I have of Cairo is that it is a very real town.

Of course, none of this matters to the Missouri governor who wants to protect the farmland of Missourians. Missourians who happened to know they were building farms on lands designated as spillway, and that there was a potential for the Corps to breach the levee if flood proportions matched that of the 1937 floods. Well, we’re about to pass the levels of the 1937 floods.

But then again, who wants to save a town that’s poor, black, and ugly?

Documents Legal, Laws, and Regs

The money game

One of the problems I kept running into when preparing stories for this site is the fact that Missouri’s Department of Agriculture seems to have abysmal data systems. Every Sunshine Law request, no matter how small, exceeded whatever amount of money I had set as a cap for the request.

Now it would seem the same problem occurs elsewhere in state government. When asked about Lt. Governor Kinder’s calendar, journalists were first told the entries were not available. Later, though, it was discovered that the entries were available, but the cost would be well over several thousand dollars in order to get the information.

I had turned in a Sunshine Law violation complaint to the Attorney General’s office and was told by the person who responded that my main concern seemed to be not that the information wasn’t available, but that the cost was too high. According to the AG office rep, high cost to access the information does not form a Sunshine Law violation. However, when the price tag is invariably high—too high for the average person—cost does form a barrier against transparency.

Either Missouri has the worst data systems in the country—in which case there’s another first we can’t take pride in—or cost is being used as a barrier to information.

Legal, Laws, and Regs Political


The bill we fought so hard for, Proposition B, was killed today. It was killed by the state legislature, and it was killed by Governor Nixon. It had the honor of dying in a bi-partisan fashion, killed by Democrat and Republican alike.

I have found there is one thing that can bring both parties together: the vote of the people. All we have to do is enact direct democracy at the national level, and politicos from both parties will bond tightly, in a mutual shared horror of “we the people”.

Governor Nixon manufactured a “compromise” that was supposed to be an improvement of the bill the legislature began, but as I’m writing over at Puppies at Burningbird, it was a simple matter to discover the gaps and loopholes the breeders can easily find in this new “improved” law. Not only was Proposition B ripped to shreds today, but it was done so with compliance by a couple of major players in the animal welfare movement in Missouri: the Humane Society of Missouri and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. Some would say they meant well; I will be charitable and just call them foolish.

Betrayed. I feel betrayed. But I don’t matter. What does matter is that the dogs were betrayed. In the end, even the most progressive of people on Twitter were implying that, after all, they’re just dogs.


And so much for the voters…

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Word is now circulating that Governor Nixon signed SB 113.

The will of the voters means little to the people in Jefferson City. Cruelty to dogs means even less.

Update: Confirmation from Yael T. Abouhalkah from the Kansas City Star.

Not to worry, claims Nixon in an oily move: The legislature has promised to look at his “Missouri compromise” that also guts the voter-approved Prop B in important ways, just not as badly as the legislature’s bill does.

Of course, by signing the really bad law into effect, Nixon must pull out stops to get his merely “bad” bill through.

Barb Shelly also published a writing on the SB 161 debate in the House today, including the fact that it has an emergency clause that would basically override the people’s ability to bring about a referendum blocking SB 113. They certainly don’t want us to ever vote on this issue, do they?

What also concerned me about the House discussion is the vet requirement mentioned in the debate mirrors SB 113 rather than the text of SB 161 the Governor posted. Was the text of the SB 161 amendment changed before being introduced in the House today?