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21 November 2011

Stouffer: The People Versus HSUS

Some of the most popular topics throughout 2011 have been Proposition B, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the “Missouri Solution.” Now, a group is recapping the Legislature’s efforts to block an out-of-state group and maintain the right to raise animals. The outcome of this year’s “Prop B” debate was the coming together of Missourians —farmers and ranchers as well as others who care about animals — and a direct signal to HSUS that we will not be fooled.

In 2009, HSUS came into Missouri to start a petition drive aimed at making the ownership of animals nearly impossible. With the help of cute pictures of dogs, they were able to get folks to sign a petition, the intention of which was to rid the state of what they called “puppy mills.” Before Proposition B, the term “puppy mills” was not a legal term. It was merely something animal rights activists used to criticize dog breeders. Most legal and legitimate breeders do not fit the image described by such language; “puppy mills” may more accurately describe illegal operations not changed by the initiative petition.

In November 2010, Proposition B was passed. No sooner than this happened, folks started to read the new law and quickly realized they had been duped. HSUS spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to mislead as many people as they could to vote for this.

During the regular legislative session this year, Missouri lawmakers proposed a bill that would take what was passed in November and correct it. What resulted was the “Missouri Solution,” an agreement reached that fixed everything that was wrong in the new law. The bill made it through both the Missouri Senate and House, and was signed into law by the governor — all in the same day.

Since then, the Missouri Attorney General’s office and Missouri Department of Agriculture have taken out some of the bad breeding operations in the state. No one has had to suffer because of regulations that would have been impossible to enforce under Proposition B. This included the animals the original new law was meant to protect.

HSUS continues to criticize the Missouri General Assembly for making the changes that were made. The truth is, we greatly improved something that would have spelled disaster for folks throughout the state. This out-of-state group came to Missouri, thinking we are unable to fend for ourselves, and tried to undermine us at every turn. With the “Missouri Solution,” we told HSUS to go home.

My thanks to Missouri Farmers Care for the good work they do, and for putting together the video that shows how we went from the public getting misled to the courage to stand up and right a wrong in Missouri. To watch the video, visit and search for “The People vs. HSUS.”

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