Newspapers Speak Out on Statewide Ballot Measures
Missouri’s two largest newspapers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, today offered resounding endorsements of Proposition B, and urged Missouri citizens to vote Yes on this measure to stop puppy mill abuses by establishing common-sense standards for the care of dogs. Both papers debunked the false claims of critics in agribusiness and the puppy mill industry, and urged voters to side with the Missouri veterinarians, responsible dog breeders, and humane societies backing Prop B.
With election day just eleven days away, and three statewide ballot measures that will have a major impact on animal protection issues, opinion leaders in all three states have sided with animal advocates in these public debates. It shows broad and mainstream support for the positions advanced by animal welfare groups, and today I offer a round-up of newspaper editorials in Arizona, Missouri and North Dakota, to share with blog readers what some of the papers are saying.
On Proposition B in Missouri, the measure to crack down on cruelty at large-scale puppy mills:
Puppies bred in Missouri turn up in pet stores around the country, sometimes with serious behavioral or health problems that are related to the conditions under which they were raised.
Current state regulations allow dogs to be kept in wire mesh cages stacked atop each other so that feces and urine produced by one animal can drip or fall into the cages below. Proposition B would end that.
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 22, 2010
Defenders of the status quo protest that the problem is confined to unlicensed breeders. But that’s inaccurate.
Citing records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Humane Society recently issued a report naming 12 of the state’s worst offenders — all of them licensed. Here is a summary of problems at a breeding operation in Milan, Mo., S & S Family Puppies:
Dying dogs who had not been treated by a veterinarian, dogs in frigid temperatures with frozen water bowls and without adequate shelter from the elements, dogs so severely matted that when the mats were removed their skin was raw and oozing, and dogs with open, bloody wounds.
—Kansas City Star, October 22, 2010
On Proposition 109 in Arizona, a constitutional amendment referred to the ballot by politicians who want to take away voting rights on wildlife issues:
Prop. 109 would set a bad precedent. Amending the constitution to spell out the rights of traditional recreational activities is a slippery slope. Will hikers, skiers, ATV users and others be next?
This proposed amendment—with broad, undefined terms—is ripe for legal battles. It would open up any action of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, including establishing seasons, to a constitutional challenge.
—Arizona Republic, October 8, 2010
While we support the continuance of hunting and fishing, activities which are an important part of the American tradition, we do not support the idea of trying to “rope off” them off from full political participation by all citizens who may or may not support these activities.
In addition, the legislative arena is also not an ideal place to decide wildlife policies. This is something better left to those who have dedicated their careers to managing wildlife and who can take a wider view of the best policies to protect this natural resource for all citizens, whether they hunt and fish or not.
—Yuma Sun, October 17, 2010
The Game and Fish Department's "wheel" needs no reinventing. It is self-sustaining funding without state general revenue funds; effective wildlife conservation and habitat preservation; creation of recreational hunting and fishing opportunities; and high-quality statewide conservation education.
A conservation-oriented attorney notes that the language of Proposition 109 is so vague that no one knows what the Legislature would do with its newfound control over hunting and fishing.
—Arizona Daily Sun, October 17, 2010
The board is against this proposition because it does not believe the state constitution should be changed for a privilege that is not currently being threatened and because it may open the state up to lawsuits from hunters.
—Kingman Daily Miner, October 17, 2010
Prop 109 would create a new constitutional right to hunt and fish in Arizona, and would block future propositions that could in any way limit hunting and fishing by giving the Arizona Legislature the exclusive authority to regulate hunting. We think voters have made wise decisions in this area in the past (such as a ban on the barbaric use of steel-jaw traps), so we're not inclined to restrict our authority and amend the Constitution to placate a small special-interest group. Vote no.
—Tucson Weekly, October 7, 2010
Put wildlife management into the hands of politicians? We think not. That job is currently done by Game and Fish, and it's done not just by regulating hunting seasons and requiring fishing licenses, but by using complex calculations and science.
—Arizona Daily Star, September 27, 2010
Proponents say they are worried the Game and Fish Commission can become too political because its membership is made up of gubernatorial appointees. But do proponents really think that by handing fish and game responsibilities to the lawmakers, this will make it less political? How in the world will that be an improvement?
—Sierra Vista Herald, September 27, 2010
On Measure 2 in North Dakota, to stop the canned hunting of tame animals in fenced pens:
Although the issue isn't really so sensational, at the core many North Dakotan find shooting confined animals in the name of "sport" repugnant. And, yes, that's despite growing up on farms and ranches where livestock are killed in the butchering process.
North Dakotan have historically been protective of individual property rights. But when it comes to a choice between those rights and public hunting and sportsmanship, the state's residents are willing to release their tight hold on property rights.
—Bismarck Tribune, October 11, 2010