A goodly number of lawmakers in Missouri have told the press and their constituents that they have no interest or desire in repealing Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, and only want to “fix” Prop B. But “fix” in this instance seems to be a synonym for “gut,” and the whole ham-handed effort unfolding in the Show-Me State is an insult to the 997,870 Missouri citizens who voted “yes” on Prop B and affirmed the broader principles of humane treatment of dogs and democratic decision-making. The current legislative vehicle for this subversion of voters' will is SB 113, and if it passes into law, you won’t even be able to recognize Prop B. SB 113 would strip Prop B of ALL of its core provisions.
Prop B would require that dogs have continuous access to water — SB 113 removes that provision and substitutes current law. Prop B mandates an annual visit by a veterinarian to every puppy mill and requires that the veterinarian actually examine each dog — SB 113 removes the requirement that he or she examine each dog.
Prop B outlaws the use of stacked cages and painful wire flooring for dogs, sets parameters for the temperatures to which dogs can be exposed, sets humane enclosure standards and uniform standards for outdoor access, limits breeding frequency, and limits the number of reproductively intact dogs used for breeding that a puppy mill operator can have. But SB 113 removes all of these provisions from Prop B and reverts back to existing law — the same law that allowed for the cruel and inhumane treatment of dogs, the same law that precipitated the campaign to qualify and pass Prop B in the first place.
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So there are two things at work. First, lawmakers are seeking to undo a voter-approved law, just a few months after it was passed and before it’s even taken effect (that will be in November 2011). And second, they are lying to the people about their shenanigans in Jefferson City. There’s no fix going on, but a wholesale repeal. It’s the equivalent of going to the doctor to remove a mole, and he takes out your heart, lungs, and kidneys. There’s not much left of you after it’s all said and done — just the skin and a hollowed-out body.
And let’s remember that Prop B came in response to the inaction of Missouri lawmakers over nearly two decades of choosing not to deal with the puppy mill problem in the state and instead putting their blind faith in the commercial breeding industry. It is ironic that a legislature that could never find the time to address the inhumane treatment of thousands of dogs in the puppy mills across the state has now found a superabundance of time, in the midst of serious economic issues that need to be dealt with, to “fix” the puppy mill problem – with 12 bills, multiple hearings, and much politicking behind the scenes. As a separate matter, several lawmakers have introduced legislation to bar any future ballot measure relating to the producing of domesticated animals or the killing of wildlife. They seem to have no boundaries in thumbing their nose at the people.
When lawmakers are sworn in, they take an oath to protect the laws of their state — regardless of whether those laws were passed by them or by the people. In the case of Prop B they are violating the spirit of that oath by ignoring the will of the almost 1 million Missourians who voted for Prop B. We can’t let them succeed.
It’s time to alert Gov. Jay Nixon to veto any legislation from these lawmakers that violates the spirit of Prop B. You can e-mail him here and call him at (573) 751-3222. And if you live in Missouri, please write to your lawmakers and ask them to respect the will of the voters on Prop B.
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