"Shall Missouri law be amended to:
-require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles;
-prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets; and
-create a misdemeanor crime of "puppy mill cruelty" for any violations?
--It is estimated state governmental entities will incur costs of $654,768 (on-going costs of $521,356 and one-time costs of $133,412). Some local governmental entities may experience costs related to enforcement activities and savings related to reduced animal care activities."
Yes: 995,368 51.6%
No: 934,340 48.4%
Measure Passed via Voters
Missouri's Proposition B was passed by voters last Nov. 4th as a way to be "humane" to dogs in breeding mills. Note, there is already a law that regulated the industry at a state-wide level, and compliance was high with a few bad apples who were tried in court accordingly. This law does nothing to prohibit harm that isn't already covered, plus it is bad for business because it restricts it and harms free trade.
First, this proposition does nothing to prevent abuse from occurring at facilities. Missouri's Animal Care Facilities Act (1) already prescribes the minimal amounts of care and area for dogs and cats within the state (2). Failure to comply with these regulations from this law typically include loss of license, business closure, and any fines or penalties applicable for not complying with the law. Through Missouri's Operation Bark Alert, compliance is already relatively high, and the staff are well-equipped to handle the burden the regulations are placed on businesses.
By limiting the conduct of business upon those who are otherwise following the existing statues, this new law violates property rights and hinders the free market from functioning at its peak efficiency. Any dog owner who now owns more than 50 breeding dogs will either have to find a new home for those animals or kill them in order to comply. As these animals belong to the owner, only the owner should make these choices, not voters. No sensible breeder will expand beyond what their business can handle.
As Proposition B forces a restraining device on business purely because they are "too large" it hinders the free market from operating well. In an industry that has little barriers to entry, dog breeding is very competitive. Those breeders who are able to raise quality animals at a cost consumers are willing to pay should not be punished because they want to expand their business. They should be encouraged, especially with the economy still in a downturn. For each dog a breeder acquires they will have to buy the appropriate amount of food, shelter, and medical services necessary to improve their service. This money goes back into the local economy, mostly helping retail stores, veterinarians, and other small-businesses with increased sales. The state and local governments then benefit from increased sales and income tax that is generated through increased business.
Though this law was passed by voters, it is not conductive to the free market, nor does it punish those who harm others or another person's property. Following through with this law will damage the breeding industry, and will prevent business from expanding. Missouri State Senator Stouffer (1), has proposed legislation that would repeal the law, but here I will have to respectfully disagree with using the legislature to void this proposition...