Prop B Recap
I really didn't want to rehash this again, but here's a quick recap for the uninitiated: Missouri's Prop B was an incredibly poorly-worded HSUS ballot initiative, designed more to put commercial dog breeders out of business than improve the welfare of dogs. Fueled by an emotionally manipulative, multimillion dollar campaign from out-of-state animal rights groups, it was ahead in the polls 69%-23% only weeks before the 2010 election. But as more and more people figured out what it was really about, support dropped sharply, and it ended up passing with a mere 51.6% of the vote -- winning only because of its major support in the state's urban population centers
Due to the highly problematic nature of this initiative, Missouri's legislature crafted SB 113 as an alternative: a bill codifying increased protection for dogs that wasn't written in such a way as to eviscerate the state's licensed breeders. SB 113 passed in the Missouri House of Representatives 85-71 last week, but that may have just been the beginning...
The SB 113 Compromise
Yesterday, Jay Nixon, Missouri's governor, said he's reached a compromise with the state's various animal interest groups -- agriculture, breeders, welfare groups, humane societies -- which would keep some of the provisions of Prop B, nix others, and greatly increase the state's funding for inspections and enforcement.
Gone is the initiative's crown jewel: the 50-dog limit, and back is the larger cage sizes (phased in) and hands-on veterinary exams. Nixon called it a "Missouri solution."
Which, of course, leads us here:
But not everyone was happy, and Nixon's wording hinted at who got left out: the two national groups that spent millions of dollars to persuade voters to pass Proposition B last November.
Both the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals expressed disappointment with the agreement.
"We believe the core provisions of Proposition B are being stripped away, and that's not going to protect the dogs and it's certainly not what the voters intended," said Barbara Schmitz, Missouri state director for the Humane Society of the United States. Her group still plans a rally to preserve Proposition B at the Capitol on Wednesday.
These core provisions, of course, being the parts that would have put licensed breeders out of business without raising a penny for inspection and enforcement?
Here's what Missouri resident and Missouri Federation of Animal Owners (MoFed) board member Kim Krohn has to say about the current state of things:
“Today, I’d give this bill [SB 113], including the compromise, a solid B+, maybe even an A-."
"What this does is provide additional protections for dogs, provide additional resources for the agriculture department, and allows good breeders to continue their business.
“What the animal rights people really wanted – things like the 50 dog limit and the unfettered access to the outdoors – was designed to shut down the industry. I know MoFed would not go along with this if it would have endangered their animals.”
If you'd like to read a full copy of the letter of agreement between Missouri's animal welfare groups and farm organizations, click here.
If you'd like to read a copy of the SB 113 compromise click here.
If you'd like to read Wayne Pacelle's ghost writer blubber about being left out in the cold by Missouri, and the "vague and unclear" language in the SB 113 compromise (now that's rich!), click here.