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2011 Best and Worst of Animal Welfare

January 1, 2012

2011 marked my entry into the arena of animal welfare, animal rescue, and law school. There were a lot of stories that pissed me off and made me wonder if things could ever change; but then, something wonderful would happen that made me optimistic again. It is overwhelming; I try to figure out how I can help them all in one big brush of policy, but it doesn’t work that way, in animal welfare law or in any area of law. Patience is a virtue.

A good friend of mine, Karen Aquino, who directed the operations at Joplin Humane Society following the F5 tornado, told me a story that I mentally refer to almost everyday. A man walking on the beach littered with starfish comes across a little girl picking up the starfish one by one and delicately throwing them back to sea. The man says, “There are so many, you’ll never save them all. You can’t make a difference.” The little girl looks at the starfish she is currently holding and says, “But I can make a difference to at least this one”, and threw the starfish back to sea. We’ll never save them all, but if each one of us picked up a starfish, you’d be surprised at the miracles that can occur.

LET THE PEOPLE SPEAK – NOT!

This female was dumped in MO and rescued by one of my friends. This is not a PR photo from the Humane Society. Breeders dump their females when they can't breed them anymore.

In November of 2010, voters in Missouri voted and passed the statewide ballot initiative Proposition B, also known as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, that would serve to improve the welfare of over a million puppies “produced” in the state every year. In December of that year, Senator Bill Stouffer filed to repeal the law claiming that voters were “misled” about the law and other legislators jumped on board. Every major newspaper in Missouri denounced the attempt to repeal the law.

Attempting to undo the vote of the majority is telling Missouri voters that they have no rights, even when these rights were expressed in a direct democratic vote. Communist leaders and all dictatorships have been similarly contemptuous of their electorate’s rights and minds. ~ The Kansas City Star

On January 25, 2011, public hearings were scheduled in Jefferson City for three bills: HB99, HB94, and HB131. HB99 would exempt all breeders that had their license prior to Prop B passing (including the Dirty Dozen I and Dirty Dozen II); HB131 would gut Prop B; and HB94 would repeal Prop B in its entirety. SB 131 (now called the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act – puppy mills said the prior title was prejudicial) was approved by the Senate on April 13, 2011. Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 131 on April 27, 2011.

To put it mildly, this is one of the most disgusting and atrocious travesties of justice I have ever witnessed. This initiative made it onto the ballot through the hard work of supporters throughout the state, not just in urban areas as opponents to Prop B like to assert. It simply does not matter – it was voted on by the people of the state of Missouri – it was law! Who wins here? Big Ag – because they are the ones who were “misled” about how this law would effect their ability to continue being cruel to livestock, ignoring the fact that this bill did not mention livestock (some legislators opposing Prop B actually admit to not reading the bill!). Prop B did not go as far as some opponents claimed – believe me, there were no provisions to provide doggie Hiltons – the farthest the breeders were asked to go was to provide enough space in a kennel for the animal to turn around. Boo hoo, the breeders just thought this was too much. Why, they’d have to reduce their 100 breeding bitches (with absolutely no break in breeding cycles) to 60 because of space! Missouri legislators couldn’t let that happen, could they?

I wonder when citizens of the Show Me State will once again have the opportunity to have their voices heard in this matter? You would think passing an initiative by majority would be loud and clear, but apparently it isn’t to many of MO’s legislators.

Please visit Missourians for the Protections of Dogs for complete articles:  http://missourifordogs.com

LAST BULLFIGHT IN BARCELONA TAKES PLACE

bull fighting ends in SpainAnd talk about patience being a virtue! In a “sport” dating back at least four thousand years, bulls have been systematically and brutally tortured to the delights of millions. Proponents often argue that bullfighting is an art, and can only be appreciated by certain, unique cultures. How one culture can stick spears into a basically defenseless animal over and over and be ok with it, I can never imagine. I hope to never understand their mentality.

Read the article in the Huffington Post:
Spain: Catalonia Bullfights Enter Final Weekend Before Ban
For more information about the cruelties of bullfighting, please see the Humane Society International’s Page on Bullfighting: http://www.hsi.org/issues/bullfighting

I know this was supposed to be my Good News piece, but I wanted to add that Mexico has not yet banned bullfighting. Even sadder, some young teens even aspire to become matadors. I’d rather have a hundred more Justin Biebers running around than one more arrogant pompous chicken shit of a man matador on my continent.
Read the article in the Guardian: Wanna be matadors

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