11/07/2010 by Gary Truitt
Hoosier Ag Today
With the Republican landslide in last week’s election getting most of the media attention, not much ink was devoted to analyzing the vote in Missouri on Proposition B, the so called “Puppy Mill Bill” backed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). While the measure passed, how it did and where it did provide some fascinating analysis and signals that the times may be changing for radical animal groups. It also provides some clues as to why animal agriculture has been so ineffective at the ballot box and how that can be changed.
Proposition B, which would take effect in a year, will beef up Missouri‘s existing laws by restricting commercial breeders to no more than 50 female dogs for breeding, increasing the size of dogs‘ living spaces, and by requiring commercial breeders to have their dogs examined yearly by a veterinarian. HSUS tried to pass this bill through the Indiana legislature two years ago, but Hoosier lawmakers wisely saw through this thinly veiled attempt to place government controls on the raising of animals and to redefine the legal definition of animal welfare. In the Hoosier State, supporters were sent home with their tales between their legs, primarily because the issue never got to the ballot box.
HSUS is a powerful and well-funded political machine. They appear to be not above misrepresenting and distorting facts, and using every cheap, shameless, emotional trick to win. In short, they are tough to beat in a ballot box fight. Yet, the Missouri vote shows they may be losing their touch. The measure in Missouri only passed by 3%, a much narrower margin than HSUS has enjoyed in other states where they have put animal measures on the ballot. In addition, the only place the measure passed was in the major urban centers of the Show Me State.
According to the web site Humane Watch, only 11 counties in the whole state passed the measure. Unfortunately, those counties were mostly in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas where the high population meant more votes than the rest of the state. According to the Humane Watch editors, “It was a centralized urban base, largely removed from the realities of life away from their concrete jungles that delivered a victory for HSUS.” States with large population centers, removed from animal agriculture, are on the list of states where HSUS will likely strike next.