Missouri governor vetoes ag bill
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon axed legislation that would toughen penalties for cattle rustling and provide a fix to the animal abuse and neglect law. S.B. 9, which was an important bill for Missouri farm and ranch families, fell victim to the governor’s pen, causing the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association to question Nixon’s commitment to Missouri agriculture. MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering said the governor turned his back on families providing safe and nutritious beef for a growing global population.
“Gov. Nixon has often touted himself as a friend to farmers and ranchers. Our association endorsed the governor and certainly appreciate the many efforts he has made in support of Missouri’s top economic driver, but a veto of S.B. 9 is reason for serious concern,” said Deering.
The animal trespass portion of S.B. 9 was sponsored by Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, R-39. MCA President Chuck Massengill, who is also a veterinarian, says this portion would have provided a much needed correction fix to the current animal abuse and neglect law.
“As the animal abuse and neglect law currently stands, a farmer can receive a hefty fine or even imprisonment because their livestock got out of their confines. It doesn’t matter if the animal is out for 12 hours or 10 minutes,” said Massengill. “Animal abuse should not be taken lightly, but we need to ensure that the law does not make criminals out of farmers who had a couple cows walk over the fence that had been knocked down by a fallen tree or an out-of-control motor vehicle.”
Cattle rustling, which is a constant problem throughout the state and most severe in southwest Missouri, was addressed in S.B. 9 as well. The new language, sponsored by Sen. David Sater, R-29, would have made the penalties for cattle rustling tougher by making the first offense a felony in most cases.
“Cattle rustling is not the same as stealing objects. We are talking about livelihoods being stolen,” said Massengill. “It’s a shame that the governor essentially ignored MCA’s quest to curb this problem in the state.”
The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association was initiated in 1911 and is dedicated to improving viability of Missouri’s beef industry. MCA is celebrating its 101st year serving as the voice of Missouri’s 60,000 beef producers. The organization has members from over 100 of Missouri’s 114 counties. MCA is a not-for-profit, grassroots, member-driven organization focused on the protection and promotion of the economic, educational, political and social interests of the Missouri beef cattle industry. Contact MCA at 573-499-9162 or at www.mocattle.com.