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A recent letter published in The Iowa Standard entitled “Endangered Species by Gotcha” paints a dangerous and entirely inaccurate picture of “us versus them” when it comes to animal laws.

Obviously, nobody working to raise animals wants to be told what to do by politicians and bureaucrats. But unfortunately, there is a big difference between “want” and “need.”

For just a moment, reflect on the countless media stories of animal abuse, neglect, and torture from this past year. Some folks would have you believe that “these cases only ever happen in the months leading up to a legislature gaveling in.” That’s false, a lie, and the very definition of fake news. Conservatives should stand for the truth — that’s why I do. There have been many cases (and many more that weren’t reported on) over the last year. Saying that these cases are somehow staged or delayed for maximum impact in the statehouse is nothing more than a lie, and frankly, statements like that are disrespectful to our state’s law enforcement officers.

The author of the letter I mentioned earlier is obviously opposed to the language in HF737. She has worked hard for the last year to come up with her talking points to create an idea of a false flag, to rile up support from the more rural base of Iowans (myself among them!!), and to stir up fear from dog breeders and farmers that this bill will harm those operators. To that, I say: Not if you’re following the lowest tier of guidelines set for you by the USDA and the state of Iowa’s department of ag! Take care of your animals, make sure they aren’t suffering, get them to the vet if they need it… and you won’t be criminalized.

The author that letter has been cited several times by USDA inspectors for not providing veterinary care to her breeding dogs… including a case where she ignored her USDA inspector’s requirement of veterinary treatment for more than a YEAR. There’s no hardship in the world that I can imagine that would allow someone to continue breeding dogs, but not be able to provide basic vet care. Shame on you, ma’am.

Conservatives, as a rule, believe in limited government. But dang it, there comes a point where a lack of regulations and laws HURT our causes and industries. Irresponsible breeders, breeders that refuse medical treatment, and breeders that act in poor faith do us more harm than good. They paint a picture that breeders want NO REGULATIONS. Well, with all of the media portrayals of puppy mills, that basically makes the media and the public think of all breeders, even the good ones, as evil monsters.

Conservatives should, and many of us do, welcome stronger animal welfare laws. The good guys are already following these standards because they’re the morally right thing to do. We know that we shouldn’t be snipping off dog’s ears with kitchen sheers. We know that we shouldn’t be yanking off dewclaws with pliers. We recognize that there are some things that veterinarians are better suited for, leading to the better overall health of the animals we produce and sell, and leading to the public trusting us for treating animals the way God intended us… with compassion and care.

As a God-fearing Christian, Republican voting dog breeder here in the state of Iowa… I wish that more of my fellow conservative brothers and sisters would take a look at the rights God has given us… We have dominion over the earth and should do what we can to protect the creatures here. That doesn’t mean we have to go vegan or vegetarian – heck no! It just means that we ought to practice good stewardship of our resources, live our lives in good faith, and do our God-given best each and every day.

Remember that the next time you start bashing someone who thinks we should treat animals better. We have DOMINION over the earth… that doesn’t mean we should dominate all living things into submission. Good animal stewards are NOT on track to be extinct. We are on track to rise up, so long as bad actors don’t derail that rise.

  • James Morres
    Monticello, IA
    20 year veteran dog breeder and support of stronger animal welfare laws