Several weeks ago I announced the good news that Missouri voters approved Proposition B, requiring that large-scale commercial dog breeders provide in a year’s time sufficient space for dogs, an annual veterinary examination, humane methods of euthanasia, and a limit on the number of reproductively intact animals used for breeding, among a limited number of other humane care standards for dogs. In the few weeks since Prop B was passed by voters, a handful of Missouri lawmakers have stated they will file legislation to gut the language of the measure. One of those legislators, Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-21, actually introduced a bill to completely repeal Prop B and leave Missouri’s dogs in the same horrendous conditions they’ve suffered for years now.
The HSUS and our coalition partners are busy reminding lawmakers that they should respect the will of the one million Missouri voters who favored Prop B. Newspapers across Missouri are already speaking out and telling lawmakers that it is not right for them to subvert the will of the voters, and it is anti-democratic. Our system is built on majority rule, and a majority of Missouri citizens—including majorities in most House and Senate legislative districts—favored Prop B. The voters acted precisely because the legislature has failed to stop puppy mill abuses. Dane Waters had an op-ed about this issue in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Right after the election I noted that, in campaigning against the measure, the Missouri Farm Bureau leveled an array of false charges against Prop B and also against The HSUS. I wrote an open letter to address these charges and to set the record straight. We received a number of powerful comments in response, and I want to share them with you.
THANK YOU! As a resident of Missouri, it's about time a public figure finally stood up to the misleading statements of the Missouri Farm Bureau. I voted YES on Prop B and so did the majority of Missourians. As a family member of a former puppy mill dog, these animals deserve better treatment and those who run these disgusting operations need to find a better form of income. —Sarah Legg
Awesome letter! I wish every newspaper in Missouri would publish it in its entirety! It was and still is hard to read some of the ignorant "letters to the editor" that are being published and are so blatantly backed by the Farm Bureau! I actually went into our local [Farm Bureau] office to "discuss" their position and was just given literature and ushered out the door! The literature only slammed the HSUS and had nothing to actually do with Prop B so I called it "litterature," since it was only good for lining my catbox! Please continue to help us Missourians fight the opposition and keep the voter’s will in place! Thank you! —Kari Knabe
I look forward to reading the Missouri Farm Bureau's response to this (if any), but somehow I doubt they will have even the courage to do that much, since they had the chance to do the right thing—support Prop B—and instead chose to attack it with sneaky and false claims. I am outraged that [they] could engage in such shameful and libelous behavior. It only serves as further proof that changes in Missouri humane laws were way overdue. —David Bernazani
Really great article. The false accusations leveled at you guys were absolutely ridiculous. Keep up the good work. —Susan
Well stated, Wayne! As an ex-Missouri inspector and regulator, I posted a detailed analysis of the terms and definitions in Prop B on Facebook during the struggle, and I've been told it helped clarify the issues for many people. Let's hope your open letter helps keep unscrupulous legislators from hamstringing what Barb [Barbara Schmitz, campaign director for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs] and the rest of us worked so hard to accomplish. Thanks! —Bob Carlson
Puppy Mills MUST be regulated and monitored. Would you want your beloved pet treated this way? It's interesting to think, if the mills are already "good enough," then why are they so offended by a law that enforces what they are "already doing"? If they are already safe and clean and abiding by the regulations in Prop B in Missouri, then why are they so opposed to making it law??? —Betty Welch