Farm Advocates and Animal Rights Activists in Fight over Dog Breeding

A longstanding dispute over dog breeding has reignited in Missouri, pitting the farm community against animal rights activists.

Two years ago, the Humane Society of the United States spearheaded a ballot initiative in Missouri that would have toughened regulations on dog breeders. The new rules would have capped the number of dogs breeders could use, would have required resting periods between breeding, and would have mandated that breeders feed animals daily and regularly. The measure passed with 51 percent of the vote.

The reason for the ongoing controversy stems from the actions of the Missouri legislature. Four months after the ballot initiative passed, the Missouri Senate voted to repeal the initiative, with their colleagues in the House passing similar legislation ten months later.

In response to this repeal, the Humane Society of the United States is collecting signatures for a constitutional amendment that would limit the power of the legislature to overturn ballot initiatives. The new amendment would require a three-fourths majority vote to repeal voter sponsored bills.

Farmers and Missouri farm advocacy groups have responded with anger to the HSUS’s new initiative, forming an alliance of organizations (ranging from the Missouri Pork Association to Cargill and Monsanto) known as Missouri Farmers Care. This group has accused the HSUS of attempting to outlaw agriculture in Missouri, claiming that, “They [aren’t] going to stop at pets. They’re going after all of our farm animals.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer