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Humane Society Legislative Fund, Key Democrats Urge Animal Lovers, Family Farmers to Deny Their Votes to Chris Koster

WASHINGTON (October 21, 2016)—The Humane Society Legislative Fund, the leading political advocacy group for animal welfare, urges Missouri voters to withhold support from Attorney General Chris Koster for governor. Koster is locked in a neck-and-neck race with ex-Navy SEAL Eric Greitens.

“Chris Koster has no core values on animal welfare or traditional family farming,” said Joe Maxwell, a former Democratic state senator and Lieutenant Governor of Missouri. “He shifts his positions depending on who he thinks will provide financing to his campaigns. We need lawmakers in public office who stand for our values and won’t sell us out to the biggest campaign contributor.” Maxwell now serves as political director for the HSLF.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund cites three issues that ground its deep concerns about Koster:

  • After voters approved Proposition B to impose breeding standards for the humane treatment of dogs, Koster worked to repeal the law as a way to curry favor with agribusiness groups that opposed it. “I don’t think Chris Koster had an ounce or hostility or empathy for the humane treatment of dogs,” said Maxwell. “He just showed naked opportunism because he was starting to rev up his gubernatorial run and wanted to curry favor with the puppy mill community and the Farm Bureau, which exaggerated the impact and reach of the ballot measure and said it was about more than dogs. Despite their duplicitous campaign, voters approved Prop B by more than 70,000 votes in a mid-term election.”
  • Koster also led an effort and enlisted other states to join him in filing a lawsuit against California to try to strike down a state law that sets basic animal welfare and food safety standards for the sale of eggs in the state—requiring that the hens have enough space to turn around and stretch their wings. Koster claimed to sue on behalf of the entire state and sought to allow egg factory farms to sell eggs in California, no matter how extreme the confinement of the hens or how bad the food safety standards. A federal judge dismissed the case, finding that Koster was suing on behalf of special interests, not the people of Missouri. And after Koster promised Missouri taxpayers he would use no more than $10,000 of taxpayer monies on the lawsuit challenging California’s animal welfare and food safety law, it was reported that his now-dismissed lawsuit effort cost more than $100,000—a wasteful boondoggle for the people of Missouri.
  • Koster also took the opposite position from the Missouri Farmers Union, Missouri’s Food for America, and other family farmer groups in advocating for a constitutional “right to farm” referendum, Question 1, in August 2014. The measure, which passed by only 2,000 votes, essentially forbids any state rules to regulate agriculture and hands big agribusiness the opportunity to operate with no oversight. It allows foreign corporations, such as China’s Smithfield, to have absolute authority over Missourians’ farm land and any animals on it, indefinitely. Inhumane puppy mill operators could also use this law as cover to evade any attempts by state or local lawmakers to combat puppy mills within the state. “Chris Koster was prepared to sell family farmers like me down the river to curry favor with Smithfield Foods and other players in industrial agriculture,” said Wes Shoemeyer, a farmer and former state Democratic senator from northeast Missouri.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund especially urges Democrats and Independents not to check the box for Koster on November 8th. We can do better than Chris Koster.

Media Contact: John Cleveland, (202) 676-2338, jcleveland@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, 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 455, Washington, DC 20037.