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September 30, 2010

Talk Back: On the Ballot

This election cycle, The HSUS has joined with wide-ranging coalitions in campaigning on three important ballot measures—supporting Missouri’s Proposition B to stop puppy mill abuses and establish common-sense standards for the proper care of dogs, opposing Arizona’s Proposition 109 to block any future statutory wildlife protection initiatives and to strip the Arizona Game and Fish Commission of its authority, and backing California’s Proposition 21 to protect parks and wildlife. California voters can learn more about Prop 21, which creates a stable and adequate funding source to maintain state parks and beaches, and to promote wildlife conservation and habitat protection, at YesForStateParks.com.

Last week on the blog I laid out the case against Prop 109 in Arizona, an attempted power grab by politicians and extremists within the trophy hunting lobby. This measure would give the legislature exclusive authority over wildlife issues, taking away the rights of Arizona voters, and it could even jeopardize previous measures to protect wildlife, such as a 1994 ban on steel-jawed leghold traps and poisons on public lands. You responded swiftly, and here are some of your comments:

What a despicable blow for democracy and indicative of the underhandedness displayed by the NRA and other special interest groups. I'm glad the HSUS has voters on its side every step of the way and I'm confident that they'll help bring down this ridiculous proposition. —Sara N
This Prop 109 is a truly bad idea. Besides the fact that it’s for practically allowing trophy hunters to wipe out whichever species it desires, it will wipe out Arizonans' rights to have their say heard and considered! I thought this was America! Arizona is a beautiful state with more natural wildlife left than a lot of other states. They fought so hard to keep it that way—please don’t let them put Prop 109 into effect! That would be a huge blow to the American way of life! Before long, it would find its way throughout the U.S. and spread like wildfire. Just say no to Prop 109! —Angela Gonzales
First of all, it is an issue which has no business in the constitution. If, however, such an issue were to be incorporated into the constitution, it must cut both ways, i.e. requiring a supermajority to make any changes to wildlife policy-making issues (yeah, as if that is going to happen!). —Victor Fuller

Also last week I encouraged readers no matter where you live to get involved in the YES! on Prop B campaign in Missouri, because this measure will improve dog welfare all over the nation. Missouri puppy millers churn out approximately 1 million puppies a year, most of them exported from the state to pet stores in major cities across the country, contributing to the pet overpopulation crisis in America, complicating the work of private humane organizations and local governments, and saddling consumers with sick or ill dogs that require more veterinary care. Among your comments:

I have been an Animal Control Officer in the state of Missouri for ten years. The job of protecting the animals is a never ending but rewarding task. Prop B is a long time coming in helping the suffering in puppy mills and the hoarding situations that occur all over the United States. Protect the animals; they don’t deserve the abuse that they have to endure. —Margaret Hicks
When I was about 19 my family was living in central Missouri. Somehow my dad discovered the presence of a puppy mill in the countryside near our town. … Strung out for a couple of acres among the weedy, overgrown vegetation was dismal kennel after kennel with tiny outside unkempt "runs." Puppy after puppy, most disturbingly, alone without mother, pack or human companionship. They were lying panting in the heat or biting at flies or gnawing at some sore or itchy spot on their bodies. The owners seemed proud of their establishment and showed us all their pedigree papers. I will never forget it and I'm thrilled to know something is being done. I now live in Colorado but have always tried to steer people clear of mall pet shops. Very few people actually know about the ugliness of this practice. I'm thrilled that there is some legislation in the works. If I were still living there I'd “show them” what to do with Prop B—vote for it! —Terri Clauss
If the BAD puppy mills were shut down this would be good, but I know many reputable purebred breeders this could affect by lumping them in with puppy mills which commonsense tells us are the bad guys. The breeders I know do not do this for a profit, and love and care for their dogs... —Cindy

A response to Cindy: Small breeders who have ten or fewer female breeding dogs will not be affected by Prop B, nor will sportsmen who keep kennels of dogs for purposes other than breeding them and selling the puppies as family pets. Truly reputable breeders who have more than ten females already provide care that exceeds the proposed standards so they will not be adversely affected. Among Prop B’s supporters are more than 100 Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics, more than 100 animal welfare charities and organizations, and responsible dog breeders.

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