HSUS, Campaigns, and You

If you haven’t heard, the state of Missouri passed Proposition B by a vote of 51.6 % to 48.4%.  This measure was aimed at bringing increased regulation to commercial dog breeders and was heavily supported by HSUS.

The fact that HSUS supported Prop B is not a big story.  They will support almost anything that restricts people’s ability to raise animals.  What is surprising, and telling, is the voting breakdown.  Prop B was carried in Missouri with the support of only 13 counties.  Missouri has 114 counties plus 1 independent city.  What does this mean?  It means that HSUS successfully campaigned in 13 counties in Missouri and was unsuccessful in 111.  Why is this important?  It is important because these 13 counties were in the Kansas City metro area, the St. Louis metro area and the Boot Hill region.  These areas represent the major population centers that are non-agriculture.  This outcome is akin to running a ballot initiative in Colorado and only needing Denver to win.

This is the modus operandi of HSUS.  They will take an issue, dog breeders in this case, and demonize them in the eyes of the major election centers.  Our friends at the Missouri Farm Bureau did yeoman’s work in exposing Prop B for what it is…the first step onto a slippery slope for increased regulations on animal ownership.  The agricultural areas of Missouri responded, but they could not compete with the HSUS propaganda machine that churned out suburban/urban voters.

You may be asking yourself why I wrote this piece.  The answer is simple.  HSUS supported Prop B contains a provision that defines “pet” as “any domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner thereof”.  Furthermore it places limits on the amount of animals a breeder can own.  Can you imagine if someone placed a proposition on the ballot in Colorado that said you could only own 100 cows?  Prop B in Missouri limits breeders to only 50 dogs.  Furthermore, Prop B contained language that was almost identical if not identical to language that passed in California’s Prop 2.  This language was aimed squarely at animal agriculture.

If HSUS claims are to be believed then Prop B is not intended for animal agriculture.  I don’t believe them.  If they didn’t  plan on using Pro B as a spring board to come after animal agriculture then why did they define a pet as animals “normally maintained in or near the household” of the owner?  Why did they not say “pet is defined as “Canis lupus familiaris, or resultant hybrids, that is over the age of six months and has intact sexual organs” which is consistent with verbiage that appears earlier in Prop B?  Why is the pet definition included at all?  And why did they use language that was so similar to language they used in California Prop 2 that was aimed squarely at animal agriculture?  If you believe what HSUS tells you then I have a bridge in Brooklyn or oceanfront property in Arizona that I’ll sell you…cheap!

Brent Boydston is the Vice President of Public Policy for Colorado Farm Bureau


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by DogsMom on November 11, 2010 at 6:58 am

    There is also something afoot here in Colorado. The Colorado Humane Society (CHS) (newly reformed) has partnered with the Bureau of Animal Protection (under the Ag Dept) to work as BoAP agents. Sounds like no big deal until you read the Memorandum of Understanding CHS has sent out to rural counties.
    I will remind readers that in Colorado a horse is still considered livestock.

    They offer to “help” rural counties in animal control for cruelty and neglect cases. They only work with companion animals…but here is the first section detailing what is a companion animal…

    “1. Animals. This MOU relates to CHS’ work concerning domestic companion animals, including
    equines not used in the production of food or fiber. It does not relate to any other kinds of animals,
    including livestock.”

    This kind of reminds me of the adage: if you can’t get in the front door, try the back door. This looks like a back door attempt to reclassify horses as pets.

    We need to be very alert. HSUS comes in many guises and many of the larger “animal welfare” organizations in this state are connected directly or indirectly with HSUS or shares their philosophy on the human/animal relationship.

    These are the kind of stepping stones tactics that AR’s (Animal Rights) are famous for…getting the door opened a crack with one change and then progressively working to open the door a little more until it is wide open and there’s no stopping them. Just look at CA–that is our future if we don’t take back our state and declare ourselves to be a state of animal welfare, not animal rights.

    Time and again in states like our’s and MO, we see the pockets of urban population calling the shots for the rest of the state–even in issues where they have no knowledge or experience.

    Colorado is an agricultural state. The ag people of the state–at all levels–must work to maintain that status.


  2. Well clearly the definition of “pet” as “any domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner thereof”. could be argued to include horses. In my area (of rural PA) many people have a few horses (NOT involved in the production of food or fiber) which they themselves consider a “pet”.

    Last week I drove to Philly and noticed that HSUS had no fewer than 3 BILLBOARDS on various highways around the city. To think that someone in Philly should decide how many animals I can own is very disturbing. What is happening to our “land of the free”?


  3. Posted by DogsMom on November 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I consider all of my animals as my pets including the two horses and two goats. I just don’t want them legally defined as pets. That places them in another status that could bring about regulations/legislation that is all touchy-feely good and not always in the best interest of these animals.

    Many times people in the urban areas are not familiar with the rural/ag lifestyle and realities.

    I hope MO Prop B is successfully challenged on a constitutional level as this is clearly an infringement on a person’s right to make a living.


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