Who Isn’t Against Animal Cruelty? But Proposition B Is Not the Answer.

Proposition B has been placed on the ballot under the guise of stopping so-called “puppy mills”.  The petition was sold to signers as a way to protect dogs and prevent “puppy mills” from abusing animals, etc.  It is certainly understandable that when offered the chance to prevent cruelty to animals, one would sign the petition.

A number of people, myself included, had significant reservations about the proposition.  Its primary backer, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is a well-known animal rights activist organization who has taken the issue elsewhere well beyond “puppy mills”.  However, after a talk with a very impassioned supporter and dedicated local animal rescue volunteer, I decided to do more research on the issue to see if, indeed, I and many others were being too harsh.

The first question might reasonably be, “Why does a fiscal policy oriented organization (United for Missouri) get involved in Proposition B?” The fact is, Proposition B is an economic question as well as one of basic liberty.  Reputable breeders in Missouri are contributing small businesses in their communities and in the state.  Any proposed action that would negatively impact these small businesses is a concern of United for Missouri.  But does Proposition B impact them negatively?

Proposition B would implement various standards on breeders in the state:

Shall Missouri law be amended to:

  • require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles;
  • prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets; and
  • create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations?

It is estimated state governmental entities will incur costs of $654,768 (on-going costs of $521,356 and one-time costs of $133,412). Some local governmental entities may experience costs related to enforcement activities and savings related to reduced animal care activities.

Aside from the on-going costs of the measure, it seems rather innocuous and perhaps even reasonable. Until you delve into the “standards” a little closer.  If you do, you will find that most do not have any basis such as the limitation of 50 breeding dogs.  Taken all together, the “sufficient food, water…” and the ‘magic’ limit of 50 breeding dogs represent a cost to local small businesses.  These small businesses are not only the breeders themselves but the local businesses that supply the food and other supplies to the breeders.

According to the MoberlyMonitor.com,

“The Missouri Farm Bureau is leading a statewide coalition to defeat the proposition. In a brochure being distributed to aid that campaign, the Farm Bureau says:  “The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other extremist animal welfare groups are circulating in Missouri an initiative petition (Prop B)…  While the petition’s fear-mongering title may try to convince people to (vote for the proposition), the truth is HSUS is grossly misleading the public about the regulation of dog kennels in Missouri today and is using the emotional appeal of pets to build a multi-million dollar national lobbying organization whose primary mission is not the care of abandoned or neglected cats and dogs as the public is led to believe.”

Among those organizations working against Prop B is the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association. The vets say, “We see this proposal as unfair and misguided.”

Here are some very good guidelines from the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association about choosing your puppy.

Our friends at the Franklin County Patriots had a good summation of the liberty issue in this blog post:

The government’s over-regulation of business is a primary factor in the high unemployment rates and the harsh economic times that we are facing.  While the left tries to blame the financial meltdown on the principles of capitalism, any thinking person who has studied American history understands that the unprecedented prosperity that we have enjoyed in this country since its founding would not have been possible had the free markets been strangled as they are today.  Business needs less government intervention, not more.

Every ounce of liberty that we allow to be taken from us will have monumental effects for our future.  Groups like HSUS count on us underestimating the importance of these issues and sitting out the elections.  We must work to restore the liberties that our founders believed in.

While I believe there are a lot of sincere proponents for Proposition B, it simply does not pass muster.  In fact, it simply should not pass!

Carl Bearden
View all posts by Carl Bearden
Carl's website

44 Responses to “Who Isn’t Against Animal Cruelty? But Proposition B Is Not the Answer.”

  1. Sandy Malcom says:

    There is a reason Missouri is home to the country’s largest collection of puppy mills and this proposition will address that and change that. The laws ‘on the record’ obviously aren’t working.

    Stop protecting these amoral, cruel puppy breeders.

    • I CARE too! says:

      Actually Sandy, I understand where you might think that this bill will help. But the fact is that present laws and regulations on the books ARE actually working. Here in lies the problem…the poor dogs you’ve likely seen on tv and on your local news programs are not dogs belonging to LEGAL, NOR REGISTERED dog breaders!!! As a matter of fact this new law will not spend one dime to catch any of the ILLIGAL, NON REGISTERED criminals for abusing dogs.
      Sadly this group is not even affiliated with your local Human Society…confused??? Yeah, so was I. So tell you what I did… I wanted the stuff I seen on TV stopped and the language in this bill seemed very, very good…who wouldn’t want it??? Until I started talking to my local humane society, my local vet and seen the info from the American Kennel Club. And I found out some starteling facts I didn’t like. For one, the sponsers of this bill are Humane Society of the U.S. and are not affliated with your local humane shelter at all!!! Next I found out that what they are the richest, most powerful animal rights organization in the world(think PETA) And by talking to my local vet I found out that there is a huge amount of regulations and protocol that dog breeders are currently under and that some laws that HSUS would now make owners do is not in the best interest of the dog and will do more harm than good. Next I looked up HSUS and found out that their organization would like everyone to loose their rights to own pets, farm animals, use animals for clothing or to eat as meat! Think I’m kidding…google it. They are radical, progressives and Prop B is their first step and if they can get MO to accept it they are “IN”… we are crutial to thier agenda.
      Legal, Registered Dog Breeders aren’t the problem! (Ask your local vets!!!) Furthermore this bill will do absolutely nothing for the puppies like the ones we have all become familiar with. Sad!! Passing this bill will have a profound effect on everyone! And give HSUS/PETA direct access to mandate more animals…eventually “their hope is abolish them {all animals} from their slavery” (ownership).
      Thanks for your time.
      I CARE too!!!

    • Nancy says:

      If we have laws that aren’t working, it just doesn’t make sense to have more of the same kind of laws. It makes more sense to enforce the ones we have. Arbitrary number limits and other such rules will not mean that all dogs are kept in humane ways. This is an animal rights vs animal welfare issue.

  2. Thank you for such an informative report on the negative aspects of Prop B! While Prop B sounds like a cure-all, it is anything but good! It creates more government regulations on an already heavily regulated industry. It would be financially impossible for the legal industry to comply and would drive nearly 1500 small businesses out of business, causing many to lose three and four generation family farms. Prop B does nothing to stop those operating outside the law and is simply bad for Missouri!

  3. Anne@HSUS says:

    At puppy mills in Missouri, dogs are crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and given no exercise or human affection. These puppy mills are cruel and the way these dogs are treated is wrong. Prop B will stop puppy mill abuses by establishing common sense standards for the proper care of dogs. The Humane Society of Missouri and more than 100 Missouri veterinarians urge a “YES” vote on Prop B.

    For those interested in finding out more about the facts, visit http://yesonpropb.com/facts

  4. Martha says:

    This article quickly abandons any interest in preventing cruelty to animals and moves into economics. It is cruel to keep animals crowded in stacked wire cages, with feces and urine falling on the animals below. Cruelty cannot be defended with economics. Someone keeping 300 dogs and selling their puppies on the internet is not a “family farmer”. That’s a puppy factory. It’s indefensible.

    • Tom says:

      Uh, that’s already illegal in Missouri; you obviously don’t have any clue what you’re talking about. The “Stacked Kennels” you speak of have trays dividing the levels and drop through for waste. Why don’t you go visit a real working legal breeder and meet the people you want to put out of business and check out their operations. I know several and they already treat their animals better than the government treats some people in the state. Think before you talk, you’re embarrassing yourself.

      • kelsey says:

        do you even realize what your saying? You do realize that the “few” puppy mills are only yhay… a few. Have you checked all the puppy mills? Obviously, not all puppy mills are registered illegally, but the ones that are, are likely not to follow any regulations. There must be more strict regulations in order for the dogs to be properly taken care of. Would you like it if you were only alive to be constantly caged for your sperm? Unlikely. That’s all they have. Mills are businesses, and its for making money. All businesses have certain regulations they have to follow. If these mills can’t update to proper codes because its economically chalanging, then perhaps they shouldn’t have a mill. They’re utterly ridiculous. You can go on petfinder.com and there are over sixteen thousand dogs up for adoption, and that’s not even avery one of them! Instead of forcing dogs to breed for people who are too good to have a “mut,” why don’t we take care of the overpopulated animal sheltors?

        • Carl Bearden says:

          Prop B doesn’t fix the problem it said it was trying to fix. Illegals are still going to be illegal.

          You do expose the true intention of those paying to pass Prop B – no breeders period. They knew if they were honest about their intentions Prop B would have failed miserably.

  5. amy says:

    Of course, anne@hsus, here we have you a PAID HSUS worker trolling and responding to these stories.

    There is no legal definition of a puppy mill. Some people can handle many dogs well. Others should not even have a single dog. It’s about care, not numbers.

    As far as numbers, if you eliminate breeders in the State of Mo, what will that do to retail sales of pet supplies? To the employees of said pet supplier equipment? To the agriculturists who produce the food to make dog food?

    Have you really thought this all the way through?

    Punish the deed, not the breeder.

  6. Carl Bearden says:

    Fact is the proponents of Proposition B want to justify putting legitimate small businesses out of business. Not considering economics is worse than making it part of the discussion.

    Using “animal cruelty” in this ‘ends justify the means’ argument is not only faulty, it’s intellectually dishonest. The majority of dog breeders in Missouri are not puppy millers and do not condone those who are.

  7. Annette says:

    No one has even addressed the fact that prop B does nothing to stop the illegal puppy mills in Missouri. It just piles on more regulation for legal breeders.
    Licensed breeders for the most part take care of their dogs because if they are to stay in business they have to have healthy dogs.
    Illegal mills are the ones that should be sought out and closed. Then the people who were running charged and checked on for a long period of time to make sure they haven’t moved and set up another mill somewhere else.

  8. k-9 friend says:

    there are laws in place now just need more inforcement VOTE NO on prop. B ,,, we need no more government rules and regulations we need inforcement for those already in place.

  9. k-9 friend says:

    This will only be if passed a cost in the negative way for Many Missourians

  10. Wiserthansome says:

    Anne@HSUS says: September 29, 2010 at 10:19 am
    “At puppy mills in Missouri, dogs are crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and given no exercise or human affection. ”

    There is absolutely no evidence to support this statement. Licensed, regulated kennels are simply NOT allowed to operate this way. If the current laws are being enforced, why would a new, redundant law be enforced? For more information and a comparison of Prop B to Current law, please go to http://www.thealliancefortruth.com

    Please don’t support the party line mythology. If the proponents of Prop B were so very concerned about animals, they could have accessed the petition initiative process at any time by themselves. They didn’t need the HSUS to introduce legislation in their own state. But instead, the HSUS came here and used the resident animal rights groups as a front to push their own agenda, just like in Ohio. It’s no coincidence, nor is it an isolated incident focusing specifically on Mo as the epicenter of puppy abuse. This is what the HSUS does.


    • Wiserthansome says:

      That should read “If current laws are NOT being enforced, why would a new, redundant law be enforced?”

  11. Shelley says:

    I’ve seen the assertion that the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association is against this Proposition, but I can find nothing to validate this. All I’ve seen is indirect quotes on a few sites, such as yours.

    Where is the news release from the MVMA that you all are quoting?

    • Carl Bearden says:

      The link to the MVMA statement that Prop B is not the answer is provided in the blog. Click on the “choosing your puppy” link (http://www.mvma.us/puppies)

      Here is the summation of the MVMA statement:

      Passing blanket initiatives (Click to view a copy of the ballot initiative) without careful consideration of the facts and ignoring existing law is not in the best interest of the dogs we are trying to protect.

      The MVMA believes the answer lies in adequate funding for more inspections and better enforcement. You can do your part by making certain your next puppy is not from a puppy mill.

      • Shelley says:

        Thanks. I wouldn’t have expected to see this in a section labeled, “How to choose a puppy”.

        Interesting. I wonder who are the members of the organization, and if they all agree with this rather hidden, and ambivalent statement.

    • Shelley says:

      Also interesting: the people who prepared their side by side do know that the law specifically states it complements existing laws, and doesn’t replace them, don’t they? Also, the side by side makes some changes in the text associated with proposition B.

      Proposition B adds to the existing laws. First, it does make a statement about how frequently a female may be bred. Second, it sets a limit on how many adult dogs the breeder can have. Third, it insists on unfettered access to outdoor exercise, and climate control, to ensure cages do not get too hot, or too cold.

      Existing laws are particularly well suited to companies like the Hunte Corporation. They’re not well suited, though, to eliminating puppy mills.

      • Carl Bearden says:

        All the “standards” appear arbitrary. Who established them?

        It’s interesting that the proponents of Prop B say the current laws aren’t sufficient but we are going to “compliment” them with more. More laws have never proven to be a solution but have been proven to create more problems and drive up costs for all.

    • Shelley says:

      Yup, evil people wanting to ensure animal welfare. Darn them — don’t they know business is all that matters?

      • Carl Bearden says:

        Unfortunately, Prop B doesn’t ensure that outcome.

      • Gale Nie says:

        That’s where you’re making your mistake Shelley. Animal rights vs. animal welfare. Everyone is in favor of animal welfare. But HSUS and many other groups have a sick, twisted logic that places animals on an equal plain with humans. That is wrong. They don’t believe we should use animals in anyway, including eating meat, eggs, milk, hunting, fishing, keeping pets, etc. Prop. B isn’t about animal welfare. It’s about an extreme, radical animal rights agenda that these groups hope to eventually force upon the rest of us, whether we want it or not. I have been following groups like HSUS, PETA, etc. since before high school because I have always hunted and fished. I understand the big picture and would never compromise with groups like them. They are evil and don’t care about the animals. It’s all about them, their egos and their agenda, not to mention their big salaries and pension plans. Wake up and realize these groups use emotion to dupe caring people who only want to help. But people just don’t realize what is behind the curtain.


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  13. Lynne's Honey says:

    The one thing, and a most important fact that I do not see discussed enough is that animals that are mistreated do not perform very well. In this case it is dogs. Dogs that are not fed properly, not provided with potable water, that are kept in the filth that is a major claim of AR’s simply will not provide the breeder with large litters or healthy pups. The good breeders are aware of this and treat their dogs accordingly, the bad breeders apparently are not. Breeders who do not sell healthy dogs soon go out of business because they take their market away from themselves by their treatment of the animals in their care.

    Proposition B in Missouri is similar to the Proposition that was passed in California a couple of years ago. The main thrust in California was egg production. The language in both is vague. In both cases it will drive producers out of business, thus raising the cost of the product, dogs in MO and eggs in CA. A good number of the egg producers were talking about moving out of CA to other states. In fact, other states were courting CA producers to come to their states. That’s OK though, CA producers are free to move out of state now. CA has has passed, through the efforts of the AR lobby a law that does not allow sales of eggs from out of state producers that do not follow CA law.

    One producer has spent millions of dollars building new buildings to house his hens, with larger battery cages based on the European standards that were developed by AR’s over there. Was this good enough for HSUS and other AR’s? No it was not. They want cageless hens whether they be in building enclosures or outside. This will raise costs for the producers, believe it or not. There will be more labor required to collect the eggs. There will be a higher incidence of illness and contaminated eggs. There will be a much higher death rate among the birds. We can just keep going down the list. Many studies have found that the way eggs are being produced today is the better method all around.

    Take a look in your next visit to the supermarket. Look at the prices on the eggs. Those produced by current mass production methods are less expensive than those eggs labeled free range and/or organic. The latter group of eggs cast 3-5x as much. Is this what you want to pay for eggs that offer you no proven dietary benefits over “factory”, to use a ward created by AR’s as a derogatory term, produced eggs?

    If Proposition B is passed in MO, you are going to see the same thing. HSUS and others will come back and define what proper nutrition is. Would you like to feed your dog HSUS’s vegetarian dog food when dogs are basically carnivores with a slight leaning toward omnivore? I don’t think so. They will be back to decrease the number of dogs allowed at a facility. Heck the 50 dogs allowed by Proposition B is about the minimum you need to have a good breeding program in place to allow for enough genetic diversity to avoid passing along genetic defects. And so on.

    Proposition B is a bad piece of legislation no matter how you look at it. It will put the pressure on the legal guys, and the number of unregistered, uncounted breeders will rise. Is that what you want for your state?

  14. FreedomFighter says:

    Fearful ill behaved shelter dogs are commonly thought to have been abused, but the truth is many of the dogs in shelters are there because they were poorly bred and have weak nerves as a result. The owners couldn’t handle their nervous hyper temperaments. I worked as a veterinary technician and saw first hand the physical and temperament problems associated with indiscriminate breeding. If we are going to have pets let’s do our best to ensure they come from professional breeders who devote their time and attention to raising well balanced dogs.

    If Proposition B’s only aim is to ensure adequate care then WHY are shelters, rescues, veterinary clinics, HSUS, and non breeding owners exempt? Don’t they all deserve the same treatment? If you answer yes to that question you’ve hopefully just realized the truth behind this oppressive illogical Proposition B.

  15. […] an earlier post, Who Isn’t Against Animal Cruelty? But Proposition B Is Not the Answer, we had a number of commentors tell us how awful we were for putting financial considerations ahead […]

  16. […] an earlier post on the United for Missouri site, Who Isn’t Against Animal Cruelty? But Proposition B Is Not the Answer, we had a number of commentors tell us how awful we were for putting financial considerations ahead […]

  17. jimfosterdvm says:

    I debated Barbara Schmitz/Mo. Dir. HSUS twice and CEO Wayne Pacelle once all on St. Louis talk radio stations. Listen to my second debate with Barbara Schmitz and listen to what she did to me.


    copy and paste this link into your web browser and go to segment 10/25/10 and wait for the ending that everyone is talking about. Please put this in your emails and facebook to educate the public.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Of course, the question being glossed over in all of this fighting is “Why?”
    If Missouri has laws on the books, why do we have such an enormous number of unlicensed “puppy mill” breeders? (Hint: check out the penalties for repeat offenders in RSMO http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C200-299/2730000338.HTM)

    According to the MO Dept of Agriculture, we have twice as many licensed dog breeding facilities as any other state in the country. Why do we have so many licensed breeding facilities too?

    Why do we only have 8 enforcement agents statewide for this?

    • Carl Bearden says:

      So the answer is, “Make more laws for unlicensed puppy mill breeders to break?” I don’t think so.

      If the penalty for repeat offenders is not harsh enough, change the penalty, don’t add more laws that will do absolutely nothing to stop the illegal puppy millers. In fact, as legitimate breeders are put out of business, illegal puppy millers will flourish. At that point, Prop B will be a very hollow “victory” indeed!

  19. KC Attorney says:

    Guess everyone who posted comments opposing Prop B are pretty upset today. The funny thing is – the ONLY logical argument that I have read about the language to the statute is the limitation to 50 dogs. However, there is a reason to support that – humans domesticated dogs. In doing so, this has led to dogs relying on humans for more than food/water/shelter/medical attention – it led to dogs needing human attention/affection. Any person who is a dog owner knows this. When I come home after a day of work, my dogs are much more interested in my attention than going outside or eating. My dogs will not go outside or eat a treat until I pick them up, pet them and let them give me a lick or to. How does a dog who has lived with a breeder receive this type of attention? The simple answer is that they do not – not even when limited to 50 dogs, much less anything over this number. And why is this important? Remember – we (humans) created this need – it’s that simple. As for all of the rest of the arguments, as an attorney (with a prosecutor and judge in the family who also agree – along with several other judges who were asked), the statute is written clearly. While it is true that some statutes leave room for interpretation that could lead to application in unintended situations, this one does not. The definition of the type of animal that this statute applies to is not written in a manner that leads to various interpretations. It applies to dogs. Domesticated dogs. It’s truly that simple.

    • Carl Bearden says:

      I think the fact that it barely passed speaks volumes to Missourians waking up to the bad Prop B. At one time, it was polling 70+% for it and then just eked out a victory but a victory none the less. It will be interesting to see what happens to it in the future.

  20. littleblackdogs says:

    Carl B said….

    ” all together, the sufficient food, water…represent(s) a cost to local small businesses.”

    Dearest Carl B, you are SO correct!….food and water in sufficient quantities tugs at the pursestrings most deplorably!

    But we have a solution, yes?

    Feed them TEA!
    Problem solved!

    Littleblackdogs profusely thanks Mr. Carl B & friends for their endless supply of humor to be added to our upcoming book of love laughter and wisdom ” The DogPatch Way-Tips&Tricks from Missouri’s Dog-Farms” ©

    • Carl Bearden says:

      May you have great success in your publication. I doubt you sell many books as you don’t seem able to keep things in context. But hey, I’m glad you have a dream!

  21. littleblackdogs says:

    Details details…such quibbling! There it is for all to
    see, Mr. Carl B ! We SO love the internet as we can share these
    nuggets of humor with EVERYONE. We could not make this stuff up!
    Sometime soon we will have EVERYBODY laughing so hard at Missouri.
    Missouri will be Dogpatch USA. Many people are laughing already as
    they were not so aware of nasty puppy-factories until the
    terrorists and communists and socialists got together and wrote
    Prop B. We DO find this very amusing as the socialists and the
    communists NEVER seemed to like each other very much …why NOW we
    ponder. Mr. Carl B is a gift that keeps on giving! Strange, Karen
    is a gift that keeps on giving also with her hilarious talk of
    ‘farmers’. Strange, Karen would try to fool us! Farmers do not
    breed dogs. Dog-breeders breed dogs. Farmers breed LIVESTOCK. We
    would implore Strange, Karen to visit any kindergarden and ask ‘
    what animals are on a farm? Chicks and ducks and geese! Cows and
    and sows and sheep! We do not drink dog’s milk or wear their hides
    or sell their fur or make sausages from their blood or serve them
    for lunch as they do in China. “Do I have a guilty conscience for
    my lack of compassion-NO, not in the least!” said Strange, Karen.
    We believe her! WE could not make this stuff up!

  22. littleblackdogs says:

    MrCarlB bemoans the alleged violation of his ‘context’! May
    we remind MrCarlB that context-fiddling CREATED the Rock upon which
    his Argument rests? MrCarlB would desecrate the context of his
    enemy whilst maintaining the inviolateness of his own? MrCarlB is a
    Funnyman! MrCarlB imagines that he fools us. MrCarlB imagines he
    would pull the wool from under our noses. We could not make this
    stuff up!

    • Carl Bearden says:

      No it is I who thank you for demonstrating the wackiness of Prop B! In addition, you’ve given people the opportunity to see just why Prop B was bad and should be “spayed & neutered” by the legislature.

      Thank you for your valuable service!