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,

“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!