Concerned folks in the state of Missouri are trying to pass a law against the worst excesses of puppy mills, by legislating some minimum standards for breeders.
Puppy mills are horribly inhumane places where dogs are kept in disgusting conditions and used as breeding machines, forced to bear litter after litter of puppies until they die of exhaustion. The offspring of those tortured dogs are crammed into tiny cages, never socialized, exercised or attended to, and fed the bare minimum for survival.
Then they are cleaned up and sold to retail pet stores, to sit in windows until someone buys them. They often end up abandoned because they are so completely unsocialized, or die an early death caused by the abuse and neglect.
So who could oppose legislation against puppy mills? (Except, of course, the people who profit from them.) Why, the tea-partiers, of course. It's a socialist plot to prevent red-blooded Americans from owning as many dogs as they want.
A conservative group in Missouri is picking up the backing of the Tea Party and Joe The Plumber in its quest to stop the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal rights groups from passing "radical" anti-puppy mill legislation.Via AMERICAblog, via James.
The measure, which can be read in full here, is called Proposition B or the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act." It aims to help eliminate the "3000 puppy mills" in Missouri that constitute "30% of all puppy mills in the U.S.," according to Michael Markarian, the Chief Operating Officer of the HSUS.
The HSUS is a national animal rights advocacy group that doesn't financially support local Humane Society shelters.
"This measure would provide common sense standards for the care of dogs," Markarian told TPM, including sufficient food and clean water, vet care, regular exercise, and adequate rest between breeding cycles, among other things. Markarian said the measure only applies to "commercial dog breeding facilities" that have more than 10 breeding females who they use for "producing puppies for the pet trade."
Sounds pretty straightforward, no?
Well, according to the Alliance For Truth, the main force behind the anti-Prop B movement, there is something much more nefarious afoot (er, apaw) in the HSUS measure. The Alliance For Truth claims that the HSUS has a "radical agenda" and is "misleading the public with its intentions on Prop B. The society seeks only to raise the cost of breeding dogs, making it ever-more difficult for middle-class American families to be dog-owners."
Anita Andrews from Alliance For Truth told TPM that it's a "deceptive, lying bill" that is "trying to purposefully get rid of the breeders." The state of Missouri, she said, has been given a bad rap as "the puppy mill capitol" of the U.S. but "in truth we have the best ribbon breeders in the country." And, Andrews said, the state already has anti-cruelty laws on the books.
"They don't like animals," she said of the Humane Society of the United States.
To learn more about Missouri puppy mills and what you can do to help, go here.