Article Product of ignorance
by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery (R-126 including the counties of
Barton, Dade, Jasper and Polk)
Proposition B will be on Missourian's November 2, 2010 ballot. No matter how it is promoted it is fundamentally the product of ignorance. It reflects ignorance about breeders, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the power of the free market, property rights, and liberty. It is being driven by propaganda rather than truth and depends on emotional appeal rather than the achievement of meaningful reform.
Missourians love their pets and hate to see animals abused. Dog breeders, and I have met a number of them, raise dogs because they love dogs and enjoy seeing others find just the right dog for their family. The goal of these small business people is to satisfy the public's longing for pets at a cost most can afford. My family used to raise basset hounds, and I remember that even a single flea bite on an otherwise perfect puppy meant an unacceptable price penalty along with the determination to find and fix any problem. If a puppy had anything more serious, they might just be refused. It simply does not pay to mistreat animals. But the best breeder would be hurt the most by Prop B.
Many are ignorant about the nature and objectives of HSUS-- the organization behind Prop B. A visit to www.humanewatch.org or www.activistcash.com will help you assess whether their intentions have anything at all to do with the treatment of animals. While less than $500,000 went to animal shelters (less than 0.5% of HSUS's budget in the same year HSUS's own website lists 14 executives who, it is reported, received $2.5 million in 2008 in pension benefits alone; their salaries are not available.
However, most harmful is ignorance of the significance of property rights to basic American freedoms. There is no more important unalienable right that our constitution secures than that of property rights. Personal property - almost unheard of before the United States exceptional founding - is the right that guarantees all others. It is the only right that once lost will almost certainly not be restored short of armed conflict. Prop B directly assaults property rights and for that reason alone is completely unacceptable and should be ruled unconstitutional. But the courts aside, no issue is important enough to concede to government our last defense against its abuse of the people.
Dispelling ignorance about what is actually in Prop B will help defeat it at the ballot box. First of all, the use of the word "cruelty" is to invoke prejudice, not reason. For example, keeping 51 dogs is cruel but keeping 50 is not; keeping a dog in a 5' by 5' 11" enclosure is cruel while adding one inch to the length makes it kind; kennel temperature of 45 degrees F is kind while 44 degrees is cruel. "Cruelty" is not for the dog; it is for the emotional appeal. We're told Prop B is for "large-scale" breeders, but just 11 female dogs makes you a "large-scale" breeder, and your animal quarters will have to be heated and air conditioned. Finally, if Prop B is about animal cruelty then why are hunting dogs excluded from the regulations?
Proposition B is not about animals or about cruelty, it is an assault on property rights, small businesses, and the free market. It employs a proven strategy for stripping rights from the people and empowering the elitists: 1) find an innocent lovable party - puppy, 2) make them a victim with an emotion-stirring label - puppy mill, 3) make "more government" the solution - Prop B. If voters take a broader and thoughtful perspective and if they insist that freedoms be protected and that policies be logical rather than emotional, then American ideals will win, and Prop B will fail in November.