Puppy Mills: Missouri, Worst State In U.S., Passes Bill To Block Anti-Cruelty Efforts?

Thumbnail image for puppy mill image.jpg
Mike Bizelli via
Missouri puppy mill.
Missouri has the worst puppy mills in the nation -- and lawmakers in the state are working hard to make sure it stays that way! So says the Humane Society, which announced this week that Missouri ranks No. 1 for terrible puppy farms in the United States and is now going after a piece of legislation that passed yesterday which critics say is designed to block all anti-cruelty efforts.

"It's a pro-puppy mill bill," Amanda Good, Missouri state director for the U.S. Humane Society, tells Daily RFT. "We're going to start an education campaign and make sure the public knows exactly what this resolution is."

She is referring to House Joint Resolution 11, a so-called "right-to-farm" bill, which, she says, is just a puppy mill industry effort to avoid all regulation.

The proposal comes from Representative Jason Smith, who is currently running for Congress. The bill proposes a constitutional amendment, which means voters will have to directly approve it on the ballot.

And Missouri residents will have that opportunity in 2014, with lawmakers giving final approvals yesterday to Smith's bill. There is no veto option in this case, so voters will be weighing in on "right to farm" next year.

puppy mill bath.jpg
Mike Bizelli with Humane Society of Missouri
Rescued animal from Missouri puppy mill gets a bath.

Smith did not respond to a request for comment yesterday, but has argued that the bill is a measure to protect the state's vital farm industry. He wrote on Twitter:

As written, the constitutional amendment says "the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state."

The problem, according to the Humane Society, is that farming in this context, applies to dogs and cats as well, meaning the amendment, if approved by voters, could be used to block anti-cruelty regulation and even to try and undo past animal rights victories.

Good says this is direct payback against the narrow passage in 2010 of Proposition B aimed at curbing the cruelty of the state's notorious puppy mills. And Smith and other supporters do say the bill is an effort to push back against assaults on the rights of farm families.

Continue for more response from the Humane Society and for the full bill.

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it's hard to believe people can defend farming at all.  When someone makes a living off an animal at their expense instead of the human getting a job and working, it's appalling and a bad state of our society.  There are always people willing to take advantage of another living being to make a living.  I agree that if pet stores and the like were not allowed to sell them, that would cut down an avenue.  Also when we see people here in CA pushing puppies around in shopping carts for sale, it's a dead giveaway that it's a backyard breeder.  People around here now get the info and take matters to the police.  People are tired of the animal abuse going on for the sake of making a dollar.  If you see something going on, speak up. 

Daniel Reyna
Daniel Reyna

Disgusting & embarassing.....rural Mo. is the armpit of human existance.

Scott Plackemeier
Scott Plackemeier

Contact your state reps! Especially folks in rural areas. Let them know their attempt to shelter puppy mill operators under "right to farm" won't fly. And if they vote for it anyway vote them out! Most family farms don't want to be lumped in with puppy mills and should make that be known. But if you don't speak up you will be ignored.

Amy Brotcke
Amy Brotcke

Stop buying puppies from pet stores and irresponsible breeders. If there were no market, there would be no business. Educate people about how to purchase a puppy from a responsible breeder, or point them to rescue.

Los Delgados
Los Delgados

What can we do? This is horrible and something should be done, but I don't understand how to help. Does anyone have any ideas?

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