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Opinion: Prop B threatens state livestock

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The Humane Society of the United States hired a small army of contract lobbyists to further their interests in the state of Missouri. Even after spending millions and barely passing Proposition B in the November election, it seems HSUS is not through with our state.

During its campaign on behalf of Proposition B, HSUS assured us they were just concerned with dogs and had no interest in livestock production in the state. These assurances must come with a sell-by date, because they have most certainly expired. Contract lobbyists are now working the halls of the Capitol urging the defeat of House Bill No. 100, a bill that guarantees Missourians’ rights to continue to “raise livestock in a humane manner.”

The bill would put the humane treatment of livestock into Missouri law. One would reasonably assume that the Humane Society ought to favor humane treatment, but I guess not. The bill requires Missouri farmers to use “generally accepted scientific principles” in their production of livestock. Again, it seems an organization that purports to fight for the welfare of four-legged creatures ought to be in favor of science, but the HSUS has little use for science when emotion is so much more effective in separating the organization’s supporters from their money.

I’ve visited with farmers who struggled through the recent blizzard to care for their livestock. One of my friends spent the day of the blizzard struggling through snowdrifts to make sure his hogs had enough feed, ending the day stranded in the ditch while he attempted to drive through the white-out conditions. He made it home safely, but he was willing to risk his life to care for his animals.

Another friend spent the day on crutches feeding hogs. He wasn’t supposed to be working, but he was the only member of his family who could reach their hogs because of the dangerous travel conditions. Sensible regulations on animal care may be necessary, but consumers should never forget farmers routinely put the welfare of their animals before anything else, including their own safety.

Bills under consideration to amend Prop B will strengthen the ability of present law to protect dogs being raised by Missouri’s licensed dog breeders. That is a very good thing, and will more accurately reflect the will of an electorate concerned about the treatment of animals.

—Blake Hurst, Missouri Farm Bureau president
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