Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Animal Legislation in Missouri, An Update

Missouri Alliance for Animals Legislation - Update

So far the legislative agenda has been dominated by the Puppy Mill Initiative and working defensively to ward off potentially harmful legislation.

The main focus this session has been House Joint Resolution 86, which has passed the House and was voted out of the Senate Agriculture Committee last week with substitute language. The Alliance is concerned about the unintended consequences this constitutional amendment could have not only on the puppy mill initiative but also on the entire citizens' initiative process as provided for in our state constitution. They are working with Senators to make changes to make changes to this resolution.

House Bill 1747, sponsored by Rep. Jim Viebrock, has also passed the House. This bill attempts to get around federal restrictions on meat inspectors working in horse slaughtering plants and allows for horse slaughter in Missouri for the purpose of producing meat for human consumption. The legislation will now head to the Senate for their consideration. The Alliance is watching this bill especially closely because it has been amended with statutory language that targets the Puppy Mill Initiative.

They are awaiting hearings for their dog fighting bills, SB 664 (Sen. Scott Rupp) and SB 632 (Sen. Jane Cunningham), which were filed early and have been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both bills increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony for the second offense of being a spectator at a dog fight. They also require a hearing within 30 days to determine what happens to the animals that are seized. This would allow the dogs to be rehabilitated and adopted into good homes more quickly.

A hearing has been held on one of their large carnivore bills. House Bill 1288, sponsored by Rep. Mike Sutherland, would create a program of regulation within the Department of Agriculture for owners of large carnivores and would require liability insurance, caging restrictions, and other important standards. Rep. Sutherland's bill will most likely be included in the House's omnibus agriculture legislation. We are still awaiting a hearing on Senate Bill 832, sponsored by Sen. Tom Dempsey.

For more information visit the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation on the web.

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