While "Arkansas’ troubled Buffalo River, like the Current, needs attention" (July 7) deals with serious problems with a large proposed industrial hog farm in Arkansas, it should serve as a wake-up call for us here in Missouri. Every legislative session in Jefferson City, there are serious attempts to roll back the authority of county health boards to regulate large factory farms, which endanger the public’s health, the environment and the welfare of the animals confined in such facilities.
This past session, the Legislature came very close to opening up Missouri to the same abuses that are looming in Arkansas. Some members of the Legislature even tried to lure animal welfare groups into supporting such legislation by offering, in return, the removal of license fees on animal shelters and rescues. While such taxes are grossly unfair to those nonprofit groups that house homeless animals, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation refused to withdraw its opposition to removing needed oversight of large industrial factory farms. With the help of a handful of legislators, we were fortunately able to defeat such legislation.
We need to remain vigilant, however, as it is certain that such legislation will return next year since numerous corporate farms are ready to move into Missouri once regulations are lifted.
Bob Baker • St. Louis
Executive director, Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation