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Source: Missouri Soybean Association news release

Agricultural organizations throughout the state have banded together in support of legislation to protect Missourians' rights to raise animals.

Missourians for Animal Care, a diverse coalition representing farm and ranch families, veterinarians, pet breeders and agricultural input suppliers, is working with legislators to advance a constitutional amendment to present to voters defending the rights of animal owners in the state.

"Missourians for Animal Care was formed to provide unified support for our state's family farmers and others to protect their rights to raise domesticated animals in a humane manner," said Don Nikodim, executive vice-president of the Missouri Pork Association and chairman of the coalition. "We believe this right is fundamental to the livelihood of thousands of Missourians who work to make their living by raising animals."

On March 4 by a margin of 96-52, the House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 86, which includes language to protect the right to raise animals in a humane manner. The resolution has since been revised in the Senate, stating, "it shall be the right of citizens to raise domesticated animals in compliance with any applicable state laws or local regulations." The resolution also declares regulations regarding the welfare of domesticated animals would only be valid when approved by the General Assembly or promulgated by state agencies through administrative rule.

"We support practicality and common-sense-based rules and regulations when it comes to animal care," said Jeff Windett, executive vice-president of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association and vice-chairman of the coalition. "Agriculture is the backbone of the state's economy and this resolution will help us to ensure it maintains that position."

If approved by the General Assembly, the constitutional amendment would go on the August or November election ballot and would need a simple majority to pass.

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