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Missouri 'Right-To-Farm' Supporters Launch PR Campaign This Week

Credit / Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of the proposed "right to farm" amendment to the Missouri constitution will begin stumping for the proposal around the state this week.

Four members of Missouri's congressional delegation, all Republicans, are scheduled to rally support for the measure this week: U.S. Reps. , , and . Long will appear in Springfield today; then on Tuesday, Luetkemeyer will be in Jefferson City; while Smith will speak in Cape Girardeau, and finally Hartzler will speak in Columbia Wednesday.

What became known as Constitutional Amendment 1 was first passed by Missouri lawmakers in 2013 as House Joint Resolution 11. It states in part that the right to engage in farming and ranching shall not be infringed upon and shall be "forever guaranteed." It is set to go before voters Aug. 5, along with four other proposed constitutional amendments. The original resolution was sponsored last year by state Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho.

"We're not in any way trying to stop the old traditional ways of farming or the new modern ways of farming," Reiboldt said. "We just are giving farmers the constitutional right to do what they do in a way that they feel like is the best for their particular operation."

Reiboldt also says the amendment is needed to guard against over-regulation from the federal government and to protect farmers and ranchers from frivolous lawsuits. It could also cement protections for dog breeders and concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

Opponents argue that the proposal gives constitutional protection to animal abuse. Jared Goodman, Foundation's director of animal law, issued the following statement Friday regarding Constitutional Amendment 1:

This proposed amendment is apparently the legislature's attempt to constitutionalize a right to abuse animals on farms and destroy the environment. Animals used for food are castrated without pain relief, beaten with steel gate rods and shocked with electric prods. Cows have their horns burned from their skulls. Large-scale farms produce rivers of excrement, which contaminate groundwater, and are a leading cause of greenhouse-gas emissions. The public is demanding more accountability, not less.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

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Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.
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