Friday, April 22, 2011
If the energy, letters and money spent on Proposition B is any indication, animal welfare issues obviously spark passion and emotion.
Proposition B was approved in November by 52 percent of Missouri voters. The proposition was billed as the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.” It placed specific restrictions on dog breeders designed to prohibit inhumane treatment and conditions.
Passage of the ballot issue, however, did not quiet opponents of the law.
They brought their dissension to the Legislature, where sympathetic lawmakers have crafted legislation to ease a number of the restrictions.
Gov. Jay Nixon and his state Department of Agriculture officials also have been working with a number of advocacy groups representing both factions to hammer out a compromise.
Not every group has joined that effort; some animal welfare organizations contend the will of the voters must be respected and Proposition B deserves to be implemented without revision or repeal.
We have attempted to balance principle and practicality as we watch the process unfold.
We opposed Proposition B prior to the November vote because we believed it would miss its intended target, inhumane animal breeders, and punish humane operators.
Following statewide approval, we encouraged lawmakers to uphold the vote. The law has not yet become effective; we believe implementation would help indicate what changes, if any, are desirable or necessary.
In the governing process, however, opposing principles often must yield to compromise.
The ability to forge a compromise is a quality of leadership.
We believe it is entirely appropriate for our chief executive, Gov. Jay Nixon, to invite opposing factions to the negotiating table in an effort to reach an agreement.
Proposition B has been a source of much polarization in Missouri.
We don’t expect that polarization to be eliminated entirely. What we encourage is a reasonable compromise that protects humane breeders while discouraging inhumane puppy mills.