We’ve All Got A Dog In This Fight

With the passage of Missouri’s Proposition B, the euphemism “puppy mill” seems destined to take its place along side “factory farm” in the animal rights rhetorical arsenal.

For those who might not be familiar with the colloquialism referenced in the title, yes it does relate to the dog fighting culture, but I use it to illustrate a point.  The phrase refers to having little concern with the outcome of an issue, and even though the immediate impact of Prop B will be felt by Show-Me Staters, anyone involved with animals will eventually be affected.  This seemingly benign referendum (at least so in the eyes of the urban electorate) will likely have far-ranging ramifications.

The Missouri Farm Bureau was quick to recognize the potential damage to animal ag in the state and MFB president Charles Kruse released this statement before the voting machines had hardly cooled down…

“The passage of Proposition B is disappointing because it will put licensed, reputable dog breeders out of business, not those that are unlicensed and raise dogs in unsanitary conditions.  With Proposition B passing and practically all the proponents’ funding coming from out-of-state individuals and organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, Missouri farmers and ranchers are concerned that animal agriculture will be the next target of the radical animal rights agenda.  Farm Bureau will remain vigilant in standing up for Missouri farmers and ranchers who treat their animals humanely and help provide the safe and wholesome food supply we all enjoy.”

As blogger Darin Grimm and others point out, this battle wasn’t won on the gravel roads, it was won on the concrete and asphalt.  Rural voters in Missouri universally opposed the measure while their less-connected city cousins saw visions of puppies and kittens and were swept to the polls by a wave of emotion that narrowly claimed victory.

And who really benefits from this win?  Not the puppies and kittens, but the deep-pocketed animal rights carpetbaggers who funded a superficial campaign to suffuse and obfuscate an issue that actually subverts animal care and ownership to promote their well-cloaked radical vegan agenda.  With the sweet smell of success redolent in their flaring nostrils, they’ll be emboldened and energized to mount new campaigns.  Animal ag needs to find a way to effectively combat the misinformation machine.  Simply supplying the facts just isn’t working.

Mike Smith of Food Chain Communications has an idea, and he pitched it in an article in the November Issue of Missouri Beef Cattleman magazine, reprinted on the Truth In Food website:

“We need a new agricultural apologia. Agriculture needs an apologetics in the classic sense – not of being sorry, but of being morally defensible. Not only must we find our way back to farming’s pure moral heritage, but we must openly embrace it, celebrate it, without fear, and without succumbing to the temptation to couch it in the more comfortable clothing of economics, science, utility and practicality.”

Teddy Roosevelt is attributed as saying  “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”  We don’t need hot-button, emotionally manipulative phrases like “puppy mill” or “factory farm.”  We have to start showing we genuinely care, not by shedding crocodile tears but by showing real faces of real people telling real stories.


About raybowman

church of Christ elder, farmer, grandad, agriculture writer and broadcaster

Posted on November 4, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Yet another excellent post. Hope you don’t mind if I link. You say it much better than I can. Have you seen the map of how the vote went down? It bears out just what you say and very clearly.

  2. For those breeders who raise working herding/guardian dogs along with livestock this is absolutely an inroads to agriculture no matter how they spin in. Some gloating yesterday was how MO is the #1 ag state and Wayne took it over in 2 years. But I thought this wasn’t about agriculture – they said it wasn’t.

  3. Great post and very well said! I will be passing the link on to others.

  4. Great perspective Ray…. I’m passing it along!

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