Protests and Petitions

There was a Humane Day at the state capital yesterday. I should have posted a note before the event, but I got caught up in the fooflah surrounding Governor Nixon’s “generosity”.

As noted in the news story, SB 113 not only guts Proposition B but also undermines existing enforcement. The bill uses tricky wording to make it seem as if it is improving enforcement, when what it is doing is adding additional layers of complexity.

I love the comment by Representative Loehner:

“I understand this is a very emotional issue on both sides,” Loehner said pointing to the lengthy hearings his Agriculture Committee had on House legislation and the Senate bill. He has six or seven dog breeders in his district some of whom were forced out of the hog business by slumping pork prices. “They are animal people; they know how to take care of them,” he said.

Yes, because there’s absolutely no difference between a hog raised for meat and a dog raised to produce puppies as pets. And these people call themselves experts in animals? If they failed at hog farming, that demonstrates they’ll do well as dog breeders?

So much for people who say they love dogs, but see them as nothing more than produce: minimize costs, maximize profits. This is the definition of a puppy mill.

(I also have recordings of Loehner and others as they argue on the House floor for Constitutional Amendment ballot items that basically seek to deny us the right to bring about initiatives such as Proposition B. More on these later.)

The rest of the story also highlights something we suspected: that urban representatives are trading away the vote of the people in their districts in order to get something they want from the rural representatives. This kind of political mechanization is inherently dishonest. Worse, most of the deal making is probably to support corporate interests, rather than the interests of the voters. Neither voters, nor dogs, really seem to matter to most of the elected officials in this state.

There is another story, though, that came out yesterday and that should give us some hope: the announcement of Voter Protection Alliance. This is an effort to put an initiative on the 2012 ballot that will add a Constitutional Amendment stating that citizen initiative bills can only be modified by a 3/4 vote of the General Assembly. No longer could a simple majority of representatives overturn the will of the people with ease, as Missouri representatives have done this legislative session. Perhaps, for once, the voice of the people can be heard over the dropping of coins into campaign coffers from big business.

I’ve already signed up to gather signatures. I hope others join me, because we have a long road to walk to ensure a decent life for animals—and voters—in Missouri.

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