Thursday, November 4, 2010

Prop B Just a Start to Ending Puppy Mill Cruelty in Missouri

My mom's been in the hospital the last few weeks, so I've spent a lot of time on the road traveling to and from our farm and town.  To say this county was against MO Prop B (the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention law) would be an understatement.

No matter the route I took, the road right of ways and neighboring yards were full of red and white Vote No on Prop B signs.  I used to like the color red.  Now, not so much.  And it comes as no surprise that my own county soundly defeated Prop B.  Only 26.6% of voters voted yes.

Nearly every conversation we had with folks here about this issue felt like the twilight zone.  How could we be against dairy farmers?  Horse breeders?  Beef cattle breeders?  No matter how many times we told folks that Prop B was about D.O.G.S. - commercial breeders of D.O.G.S. - the misinformation continued. 

Then there were those who told us that this was just the beginning.  First the dog breeders would be legislated out of business and that livestock farmers would be next.  The concerns about more government regulations in our personal and business lives - I get that.  I'm not keen on the government poking their nose in my business either.  I'm wary of government sneaking a toe hold and then going further, too.

However.  The way dogs are kept and puppies raised in puppy mills in Missouri (and elsewhere) is cruel and inhumane.  It's uncivilized.  It's an outrage and a crime against nature.  If there are dairy farmers, livestock farmers, and horse breeders who are operating their farm businesses in ways similar to puppy mills...  then maybe they ought to be included in similar legislation!

Here's the deal.  No one who is treating their animals in a humane way need be afraid of government regulations like those that will now be imposed by MO Prop B. 

Unfortunately, as I read the headline that Prop B had passed, I was overwhelmed with a new anxiety about its enforcement.

Like most states today, Missouri is cash strapped.  State services have been cut and more are on the chopping block.  Missouri's state workers have not yet been furloughed, but they haven't seen a raise in years and hiring is frozen.  The Missouri Department of Agriculture has not been doing as many inspections as they could if they had the staff they need.   Full enforcement of Prop B is going to take money that the State of Missouri doesn't have.  However, at least they now have some better tools to work with as they do their inspections.

It's a start.

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