Missouri has become a major battleground in the fight to own and breed dogs. Activists from the HSUS, ASPCA, and other groups are soliciting signatures to place breeder regulations on the November 2010 general election ballot. AKC’s Missouri federation has responded with a law suit and a proposed constitutional amendment to protect the rights of Missourians to raise animals in a humane manner.
The precedents set here will likely impact other states in the future. The AKC Government Relations Department urges clubs and breeders in all states to study the Missouri situation as a possible precedent for future actions in other states that allow for ballot initiatives. We encourage you to support your state federations and unite together in support of responsible dog ownership and breeding.
Breeders in Missouri are currently under attack by animal rights advocates who support a ballot initiative to regulate dog breeding in Missouri. The advocates of the initiative call it the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act”; however, their initiative confuses the issue of animal welfare (which focuses on the quality of care given to animals) with arbitrary standards that limit breeders without improving the wellbeing of dogs. Although the initiative cites a number of standards for good care, such as sufficient food, water, veterinary care and exercise, it also would limit the number of intact females a person may own. The AKC opposes limits on ownership and thus also opposes this measure.
The AKC believes that responsible breeders cannot be defined by the number of dogs they keep, or whether they can make a profit. Instead, responsible breeders should be characterized by the quality of care and conditions that they provide their dogs and the quality (including health, temperament and breed type) of the puppies they produce.
What’s Being Done to Fight It
The federation also continues to work with the Missouri Legislature to support a reasonable, alternative constitutional ballot initiative that affirms the right of Missourians to raise animals in a humane manner which promotes the animals' health and survival without the state imposing an undue economic burden on animal owners. Unlike a statutory amendment such as the one supported by the HSUS and ASPCA, which would have the weight of a law passed by the legislature, this constitutional resolution would not just make a new law, but actually change the state’s constitution. The resolution, House Joint Resolution 86, is supported by the AKC and MoFed. It has passed the Missouri House and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate. If it passes the Senate it will be placed on the 2010 ballot in Missouri.
This positive, proactive resolution may be modified and introduced in other states. For more information on House Joint Resolution 86, the battle in Missouri, or how your state can work to prevent negative breeding legislation, contact the AKC Government Relations Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.