All Animals Can Come Out of Hiding
The Missouri Legislature was relentless and merciless in its attack against animals during the 2019 legislative session. Rural legislators, with the aid of their suburban colleagues, mounted an all-out assault on animals as they tried to prohibit the enforcement of the state’s anti-cruelty statutes and attempted to abolish all local laws protecting animals. 

The Legislature was doing so at the behest of the puppy millers and agricultural trade groups. Instead of addressing the many real problems facing agriculture, the industry instead took its angst out on the animals. Incapable or unwilling to tackle the actual issues affecting agriculture, corporate agriculture sought to blame all of their woes on animal welfare laws.  

HB 951 was the most malicious of these bills, and shockingly, it was sponsored by a state representative who is a veterinarian. This bill would have prohibited municipal police officers and animal control officers from responding to complaints of animal abuse and neglect and from enforcing the state’s anti-cruelty statutes. The sponsor sought to prohibit the enforcement of all anti-cruelty laws in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Kansas City, Columbia and many other municipalities throughout the state. The sponsor argued that local police and animal control officers are not qualified to enforce animal welfare laws but offered no viable alternative.
Passed House of Representatives but Defeated in Senate

HB 559 was also a vindictive piece of legislation. The sponsor admitted in a Senate hearing that he was encouraged to introduce his legislation solely to spite “animal rights activists.” This bill would have prohibited counties and municipalities from banning inhumane animal activities and events regardless of the potential cruelty to be inflicted upon the animals. HB 559 also sought to make it difficult to regulate dog breeders, farm animals and all “working animals” such as the carriage horse industry. HB 559 would have also eliminated zoning ordinances on dog breeders, farm animals, and exotic animals. This legislation would have even prohibited municipalities and counties from banning cruel animal activities that are in direct violation of state law such as cockfighting and bullfighting. 
Passed House of Representatives but Defeated in Senate

HB 204 & SB 115 sought to eliminate the disposition process for abused and neglected animals. If enacted, abused and neglected animals would be left in the hands of their abusers until the criminal trial. In addition, this legislation would have eliminated the authority of animal control officers to investigate cruelty complaints and remove animals from abusive situations. This legislation was sought by the Missouri Pet Breeders Association (MPBA). It is understandable that the MPBA would vehemently oppose a process that could remove animals from abusive and neglectful situations. The president of the MPBA has been fined $6,000 by USDA and has had his federal license suspended in addition to having a “cease and desist” order issued against him for his continuing failure to provide care to sick and injured animals. 
Passed House of Representatives but Defeated in Senate. 

SB 391 was intended to eliminate county health ordinances on factory farms that protect the public health, the environment, and the welfare of the animals. Factory farms are industrial-sized livestock operations where thousands of farm animals are typically confined in extremely cramped quarters 24/7; the animals never see the light of day or receive more than a minimal amount of care and are frequently subjected to abusive practices. Missouri is one of the few remaining agricultural states that still allow counties to regulate factory farms. As a result of extensive lobbying by foreign owned and out-of-state livestock operations, SB 391 was eventually passed, but only after 16 hours of filibustering by courageous senators who stood up to corporate agriculture. Due to the efforts of these humane-minded senators, amendments were placed onto SB 391 to offer some protections against the abuses of corporate agricultural operations. In addition, all existing county ordinances regulating factory farms are allowed to remain in place.   
Passed House of Representatives and Senate with Amendments  

We remained unyielding in our efforts to protect the animals, and with your help, we were able to defeat the worst of these bills and preserve legal protections for the animals of Missouri. 

Every one of your phone calls, emails, and letters to your state legislators made a difference. All of you who reached out to your state senator and/or state representative can feel very proud because you truly made a difference for the animals. It was very gratifying to hear the feedback from legislative staff reporting on all of the phone calls and emails that they received in response to our Action Alerts. 

Without your help, several of these harmful bills would most definitely have passed into law and the animals would have paid a horrendous price. 

You truly made a difference for every animal in the state!

For a list of all the animal bills this session and their outcomes, please visit our website: Legislative Outcomes