Humane Society: "Right to Farm" Bill Would Protect Puppy Mills, Block Anti-Cruelty Efforts

Categories: Animals, Politics

puppy mill image.jpg
Mike Bizelli via
Missouri puppy mill.
Is a so-called "right to farm" bill in Missouri just a front to protect the controversial puppy mill industry in Missouri?

The Humane Society of the United States is going on the offense against proposed legislation -- versions of which both the Senate and House have now approved -- that the organization says could pose serious threats to animal rights gains in Missouri and would make it a lot harder to regulate puppy-breeding operations.

"'Right to farm' sounds great. Everyone is pro-farm," Amanda Good, Missouri state director for the U.S. Humane Society, tells Daily RFT. "But this is definitely an attempt to just protect puppy mills...and it's very concerning."

If signed into law, what would these bills do?

The proposals are resolution bills that would change the Constitution and thus require direct input from voters on the ballot if passed.

House Joint Resolution 11 is a "constitutional amendment affirming the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices."

If the bill passed and it made it to the ballot, voters could choose to amend the Constitution to say:

That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri's economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri's economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in thisstate. Nostatelaw shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and modern and traditional livestock production and ranching practices, unless enacted by the General Assembly.

Good says that while it sounds harmless, the definition of "agriculture" in Missouri makes it much more complicated -- and dangerous.

Dogs and cats fall would fall under this category and the Humane Society argues that this would allow the puppy mill industry and others to avoid regulation and scrutiny.

Jason Smith FB.jpg
via Facebook
Jason Smith.

"It's a way to make it appeal to the public without getting into what it will actually do," she says.

In the House, the bill comes from Republican representative Jason Smith, who is running for Congress, and Republican representative Bill Reiboldt. In the Senate, the sponsor is Senator Mike Parson, also a Republican.

Continue for more details on the proposal and commentary from the Humane Society.

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7 comments
jo ann10
jo ann10

Nice try Rep. Jason Smith - But, "We Got You."

Everywhere you look, Jason Smith interviews or the bill itself, you will find nothing but a self promotion of animal cruelty and hate for anyone who stands in the way.  Take these excerpts for example:

Let’s give voters the opportunity to send a strong, clear message to these subversive special interests. They need to know we will not allow their unscrupulous methods to limit our freedoms or destroy the traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation for centuries.

Passage of HJR 11 & 7 will send a strong message to HSUS and other radical animal rights groups that their radical agendas are not welcome in Missouri.

We live in a day and age when the traditions and values handed down to us by our forefathers have an enemy that wants nothing less than their extinction.

Mighty powerful words have been followed up by passing legislation against drones.  When it comes to Rep. Jason Smith and his unscrupulous power, you have to connect the dots.

Emma
Emma

It's a very bad bill, and dangerous for animal welfare, but yesterday (4/10/13) the Senate unanimously approved an amendment that strips out the worst parts of it. http://www.maal.org/senate-action-on-hjr-11/
Also, the bill is *not* a constitutional amendment.

Unfortunately, HSUS getting involved is probably not going to help anything in Jeff City, where HSUS is hated by all the rural legislators.

Ed Wesley
Ed Wesley

The last thing we need is to protect puppy mills. Puppies and kittens are not "agriculture". Its a bunch of lowlife, greedy, heartless monsters preying on not only helpless animals but an unsuspecting public as well.

Barry Bean
Barry Bean

Th HSUS is NOT the "humane society" that runs the local shelter. It is an anti-Ag animal rights organization on a par with PETA.

Adam Woehler
Adam Woehler

Next we need a "Right to Reactive Chemistry" bill to protect our meth labs.

Kevin
Kevin

@Emma The bill itself is not a constitutional amendment, but if passed, it puts a constitutional amendment on the ballot, so that's definitely its intent.  

HSUS is one of the groups that got the amendment offered.  

Emma
Emma

Kevin, yes, the intent is to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot. 
I tend to doubt that HSUS really was behind the amendment in any significant way. A large part of the reason that this bill came up, with this language, was legislators' antipathy to "outside influences" specifically referencing HSUS, following the Prop B initiative. HSUS also chose not to be part of the "Missouri Compromise" that salvaged much of Prop B after the legislature tried to overturn it.
In any event, it's a bad bill and I'm grateful to the senators who stood up against it.


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