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Politics swirl around Missouri puppy mill issue

In Missouri, one of the worst states in the country for puppy mills (or, one of the best, if you're a negligent breeder) there's a ballot initiative called Proposition B, which would crack down on larger-scale dog breeders, prohibiting them from keeping dogs in wire cages, requiring kennels be climate controlled and that dogs have access to the outdoors. It would also force breeders to wait a healthier time before getting a dog pregnant again.

Officials say there are nearly 1,500 of these large-scale breeders in Missouri and, officials guess, many more that aren't licensed. Altogether, that's about a third of the county's puppy mills, facilities known for keeping dogs in filthy, over-crowded cages where they are often denied vet treatment or any kind human interaction.

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Prop B is supported by a coalition of animal advocates in the state and nationwide, including the Humane Society of the United States. It's opposed by breeders, the agricultural industry and, most recently, by Joe the Plumber. Remember Joe the Plumber? Joe Wurzelbacher who campaigned for McCain in 2008? He's gotten involved in Missouri's issue, on the Alliance for Truth website, siding with the puppy mills — and calling himself a Tea Party man. (Odd that the Tea Party favors puppy mills, isn't it? I know they don't like taxes, but they don't like dogs either?) The Humane Society is "cowardly [sic] hiding behind animal cruelty, lying to our citizens and taking our constitutional rights away -- one state at a time," Joe writes. "This bill is just a stepping stone. HSUS eventually wants to extend this law to ALL animals. Their idea of utopia is a United States with NO animal ownership; NO meat to eat; NO pets; NO hunting; NO fishing; NO service animals."

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