According to Humane Society of the United States officials, the animal activist group has collected more than 190,000 signatures from Missouri voters to place a ballot initiative “aimed at eliminating puppy mills” during the state’s November election. HSUS has sent the signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State's office for review.
The ballot proposal is commonly called the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act; it’s official name is Statutory Amendment to Chapter 273, Relating to Dog Breeders 2010-086. In the state, this HSUS action is viewed as another HSUS attempt to address other animal welfare issues, especially those directed at animal agriculture, such as the group has done in Florida, California, Arizona, Ohio and elsewhere.
Once the Secretary of State's reviews the petitions, they will be sent to local election authorities to verify the validity of the signatures against their voter registration records. Petitions that meet the legal criteria will be certified as sufficient by 5 p.m. on Aug. 3, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
As outlined on the website, the Missouri statute states that valid signatures from registered voters equal to 5 percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts must be submitted. Depending on the combination of districts, the number of signatures required ranges between approximately 91,818 and 99,600 valid signatures.
The HSUS ballot initiative joins three others that submitted a sufficient number of signatures by the deadline last Sunday.
HSUS has had mixed success with its efforts to change animal handling laws at the state level. Most recently, HSUS got Proposition 2 passed in California, addressing veal calf, gestation sow and poultry housing, in 2008. It failed to pass a similar initiative, called Issue 2, in Ohio last fall, and has since found other states more organized to address the group’s efforts.