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Humane Society Legislative Fund Endorses Missouri State Rep. Steve Hodges in Special Election for U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Jason Smith Connected to Puppy Mill, Has Terrible Record on Animal Welfare and Disrespecting the Will of the Voters

WASHINGTON (May 31, 2013) -- The Humane Society Legislative Fund, the nation’s leading political advocacy organization for animal welfare, announces its endorsement of State Rep. Steve Hodges, D-Mo., in Missouri’s special election for the 8th Congressional District open seat on June 4th. Hodge’s opponent, Jason Smith, R-Mo., has been a leading opponent of animal protection legislation, and worked to dismantle a voter initiative on puppy mills, despite the fact that he had a conflict of interest since his family operates a puppy mill.

As Majority Whip of the Missouri House, Smith has helped lead the charge on dismantling Proposition B, the voter-approved Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, which set humane standards for large-scale dog breeding operations. In 2010, Prop B passed in a statewide vote—and won majorities in most state Senate and state House districts.

Additionally, he’s done this despite there being a clear conflict of interest: Smith’s mother owns and operates a puppy mill in Missouri that has been cited in The Humane Society of the United States’ “Dirty Dozen” report.

Since the passage of Prop B, Smith has repeatedly sponsored and voted for legislation that would hamper and even abolish Missouri's citizens' constitutional right to keep their state government in check through the initiative and referendum process and to allow the citizens to directly decide on animal welfare issues. Most recently, Smith led the effort to pass a “right to farm” bill that could potentially prohibit future laws on agriculture dealing with food safety, animal welfare, labor, the environment and other concerns (HJR 7&HJR11).

“Jason Smith puts his own interests above the interests of Missouri voters,” said Dane Waters, political director for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “Ever since Missouri citizens voted to establish humane standards for puppy mills, Smith has been fighting to strip them of their constitutional rights, prevent citizen participation in the public process, and use his political power for the commercial benefit of his own family.”

Hodges, in contrast, while serving in the Missouri House has supported a number of common-sense state policies to help protect both animals and the rights of
Missouri residents. Among his efforts, he has:

  • Voted for the Animal Care Facilities Act to exempt nonprofit animal shelters from commercial taxes and other fees (HCS HBs 1934 &1654)
  • Opposed a bill to propose a constitutional amendment that would prevent Missouri voters from weighing in on animal welfare and agriculture issues (HCS HJR 86).
  • Voted for the Large Carnivore Act, to regulate the ownership, possession and breeding of dangerous captive exotic animals (HCS HB 426)
  • Opposed a bill to allow for the slaughter of horses for human consumption (HCS HB 1747)

HSLF urges voters to reject Jason Smith’s terrible record on animal cruelty and conflict of interest, and support Steve Hodges in the special election for the 8th Congressional District seat.

Media contact: Heather Sullivan, (240) 477-2251, hsullivan@hslf.org

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HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at animalsandpolitics.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.

Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 2100 L Street NW, Suite 310, Washington, D.C., 20037.