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One of the biggest stories in the animal welfare world in 2010 was the grassroots campaign to pass Proposition B, the Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. It was a tough battle, but in the end, the Show-Me State’s long-suffering puppy mill dogs won the hearts and minds of the voters and passed by a popular majority, ushering in a new era for our nation’s undisputed puppy mill capital.
Unfortunately, this story’s happy ending is now in jeopardy. Several state-level senators and representatives serving in the Missouri General Assembly have expressed their intentions to pursue full or partial repeals of Prop B. But the numbers don’t lie: November’s vote proved that the majority of Missourians do not approve of keeping dogs in tiny cages for their entire lives, or forcing them to bear litter after litter without any time to recover. For state lawmakers to dismiss the decision of voting citizens is an affront to democracy and illustrates a stunning lack of respect for the intelligence of their constituents.
Missouri is home to one-third of all commercial dog breeding facilities in the U.S.—as many as the next three largest dog-breeding states combined—and supplies more than 40 percent of all puppies sold in pet stores nationwide. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance that the puppies in the window of your local pet store came from a Missouri puppy mill. Implementation of the Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (scheduled for November) will impact other states, and so would the Act’s repeal. Allowing Missouri’s many substandard commercial breeders to continue treating dogs as they always have means that the flood of unhealthy puppies will continue unabated into pet stores.
Missouri’s state legislature convened earlier this week for its 2011 session. The ASPCA is asking Missouri citizens to contact their elected officials, many of whom are new to this issue, to express their opposition to any effort to repeal Prop B. If you don’t live in Missouri but still want to help, please spread the word by sharing this article via Facebook and Twitter.
You may remember this post about the victory.