Beef Buzz News
Animal Agriculture Beware- the Aftermath of the Prop B Passage in Missouri
Thu, 18 Nov 2010 3:50:11 CST
A ballot initiative in Missouri drew a great deal of attention from all segments of the livestock industry across the United States earlier this month. Proposition "B"- or Prop B for short, was also called the Puppy Mill Initiative.
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Kay Johnson Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance
Missourians for the Protection of Dogs led the effort for the certified measure that proposed adopting new rules for dog-breeders, including capping the number of dogs that are used for breeding purposes, require resting periods between breeding and establish other requirements. The measure required that dog-breeders only be able to have 50 breeding dogs and required them to feed those animals daily and regularly. They were the front organization for the HSUS, the national group that has been pursuing their animal rights agenda in state ballot votes over the last few years, with great success.
Following the approval of Proposition B lawmakers announced that they would support efforts to repeal or change the approved measure. Rep. Tom Loehner said, "We're in discussions with a few people and trying to get together with ag groups, representatives and senators and also our legal people on exactly what we can do and what our options are." The measure was and continues to be opposed by licensed breeders and the agricultural community. According to Barbara Schmitz, spokesperson for the campaign in support of Prop B (Missourians for the Protection of Dogs), "If lawmakers do not respect the will of the people and do try to alter Prop B, we will fight to remind them that the voters have spoken."
The legislative session begins January 5, 2011.
In response to efforts to repeal or change Proposition B, Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote an "open letter" to the Missouri Farm Bureau. The letter aimed to dispel fears about the voter-approved the measure and compared it to an earlier ban on cockfighting and bear wrestling in Missouri. "The Missouri Farm Bureau opposed that ballot measure, too, arguing that a ban on that barbaric practice would lead to an end to all hunting, fishing, rodeo and animal agriculture," said Pacelle. He went on to argue, "If you care about animal welfare, leave the dogs alone. If you care about democracy, let the law take effect and do not work to subvert it."
One of the national groups that has been watching the HSUS efforts with concern is the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Their Executive Director, Kay Johnson Smith, says they are disappointed that yet another state has fallen victim to legislation introduced by animal rights extremists. Despite opposition from 103 of the state's 116 districts, this expensive campaign to regulate dog breeders in Missouri led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) narrowly succeeded on November 2.
On their website, the Alliance says animal agriculture needs to beware- "Agriculture has much to learn from Proposition Bís disappointing results. Farmers and ranchers in every state must act now to protect their livelihoods by forming or strengthening state agriculture coalitions and building relationships with other related industries. Proactive community outreach efforts should utilize a variety of tactics, including traditional and social media, to reach urban consumers.
"Agriculture groups must understand that the threat to their way of life - and to our nationís food security - is far from over."
We discuss this subject with Kay Johnson Smith on our latest Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the state on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the listen bar below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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