Missouri has been dubbed the "puppy mill capitol of the U.S." by the Better Business Bureau. Currently, many puppy mills don't provide adequate food and water for their animals, and breeding dogs are exposed to extremes in the weather while trapped in small wire cages with no opportunity to exercise or interact with humans. If breeders are found to take terrible care of their puppies, they currently face virtually no repercussions.
So people who care about the way we treat animals worked hard to put Proposition B on the ballot for this November. A "Yes" on Prop B would ensure that dogs are provided with:
Sufficient food and clean water;For the specific ballot language, click here. This is not an extreme request by most people's standards. In fact, most people would agree that it's a no-brainer that dogs should be provided with all of those basic necessities. Furthermore, the ballot would create a misdemeanor for people who violate these laws, since there currently are virtually no enforcement mechanisms to ensure that the dogs are treated well.
Necessary veterinary care;
Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements;
Sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend his or her limbs;
Regular exercise; and
Adequate rest between breeding cycles
Now I know a lot of conservatives who disagree with me on virtually every issue who nevertheless are fully supportive of laws that prevent animal cruelty. This is not in any way a Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative, Small Government/Big Government issue. This is simply a matter of whether we think it's OK to abuse puppies for the sake of profit. There really is no reason why the St. Louis tea party leadership should be taking a stand on this issue (unless it was a supportive stand to show how they in fact are compassionate, caring individuals).
Nevertheless, they (or at least a couple of them) have decided to make it a pet issue. And because it is an issue where compassionate people of any political persuasion would naturally feel compelled to protect dogs, the tea party has decided to outright lie about the issue in order to trick caring people into voting against a law that would protect dogs from unnecessary suffering. Jim Durbin spreads the utter nonsense that Proposition B is actually a secret plan to eliminate pet ownership:
Proposition B will be on the November ballot in Missouri. It looks on the surface to be a great plan that will take care of the innocent dogs in terrible puppy-mill conditions...I had heard rumors that Bill Hennessy's name was seen on anti-Prop B email chains, and that was confirmed recently as Hennessy started posting anti-puppy propaganda on the St. Louis tea party website yesterday. Of course, neither Hennessy nor Durbin linked to the actual ballot language when they discussed the issue.
However, the true purpose of this legislation is to ELIMINATE pet ownership through "regulation"...and then push the "regulation" on to force cattle, hog, and poultry farmers OUT OF BUSINESS!
Like I said, this is not a Left/Right issue. I'm sure there are a lot of tea party members planning on voting yes on Prop B. Furthermore, Hennessy has said repeatedly in the past that the tea party should focus on changing the federal government first. On May 15, he claimed The Tea Party's Focus Has Been Federal and wrote:
In spite of our work on state and local projects, the Tea Party movement didn’t come about to address Autism or state referenda. The Tea Party was born, according to my records and memory, to change the federal government, first by resistance, then by changing Congress.In a different article, he was quoted as saying:
While many local tea party organizations involve themselves in local or state issues and races, the movement’s primary interest lies in Washington.So why would they focus on this issue? It makes me wonder if some of the tea party leaders are being funded by dog breeders or by the large scale agri-businesses that also oppose this legislation based on the belief that opposing animal cruelty anywhere paves the way for making the food industry more humane. Furthermore, I wonder if this issue was ever put to a vote by the membership of the tea party. Shouldn't the people who attend these rallies have some say in how their names are being used?
Anyway, it's truly sad to see tea party leaders take such a despicable stand in favor of profits over puppies. Hopefully, they lose big and some of their followers start to realize that the St. Louis tea party leadership is not really looking out for the interests of anyone except themselves.
Update, in response to a comment: Someone in the comments suggested that I was unfairly characterizing the views of the St. Louis tea party based on the ravings of one person. I certainly don't think that everyone in the tea party agrees with this nonsense, which is why I have repeatedly emphasized that this issue should not be an issue the tea party leadership should get involved in. However, it's false to claim that the St. Louis tea party leadership doesn't endorse these extreme views. Bill Hennessy, the leader of the St. Louis tea party, specifically endorsed the conspiracy posts from Durbin: