After announcements came out relating to the introduction of competing bills to House File 388 and Senate File 384, I have received a steady stream of emails asking if Animal Ark can "fix" this crisis. The short answer to that question is, "No. We cannot." We didn't create the crisis, and we cannot fix it.
Were it possible for Animal Ark to "fix" this crisis in Minnesota's animal welfare community, we certainly would. But, the fact of the matter is that there are those working within the animal welfare community that are either deliberately sabotaging any efforts to pass a bill to regulate large-scale dog and cat breeders, or they have good intentions but are totally messing up.
Either way, I awoke this morning to an avalanche of emails and voice mails from animal welfare advocates wondering what the heck is going on. Here is one example, from one of the organizations previously believed to be a "supporter" of the new "competing" bills. This email was sent to the folks at AnimalFolksMN...
In 2010, [my organization's] Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the version of the puppy mill bill that would apply to breeding operations with 20 or more reproductively intact animals [HF 388 this year]. In so doing, they emphasized that their support was contingent on the 20 animal threshold. I, in turn, wrote a letter of support for the bill with the 20 animal threshold, making clear the dependence of our support on the higher threshold, and forwarded the letter to you with permission to use the letter and our name in support of the bill.
I just want to be clear that [my organization's] Board of Director's support was specific to last year's bill and does not apply to the new bill with the 10 animal threshold. As a result, you do not have permission to use last year's letter or our organizational name to support the new bill. Unfortunately, I was not informed that a change in the threshold was on the table until it was too late for our board to review the change. They will not meet again until April and, thus, will not be given an opportunity to consider supporting the new bill.
Unless and until you restore the original bill language, please remove [our organization's] name from any list of the bill's supporters.
Thanks very much.
This email is consistent with Animal Ark's experience, and the experience being reported by other stakeholders that have previously all supported the language reintroduced this year as House File 388.
Animal Ark cannot negotiate different language for all of the various stakeholders that came to the table to agree on last year's bill. Last year, we all had agreed to language. Animal Humane Society and AnimalFolksMN went off and re-wrote the bill acting on their own, and introduced new language without telling other stakeholders that have worked for years on common language. The writing and introducing of new, unapproved language is the issue here. Many of the stakeholders will absolutely refuse to accept the new language. The introduction of unapproved, new language is setting this effort back more than 3 years!
Those introducing new language have thrown a giant monkey wrench into this effort. And, only they can fix that.
The only hope of moving any legislation is for all of the parties that agreed to language last year to get back behind the language they already agreed to. Otherwise, we are going to see yet another year when so-called animal welfare advocates kill the Minnesota puppy mill bill.
Read my last blog post on this topic here.