Missouri House backs livestock constitutional amendment

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 7:05 a.m. CDT; updated 3:26 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 5, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a proposal to make raising livestock a right under the state constitution.

The measure endorsed Monday would prohibit rules that put what it calls an "undue economic burden" on people who raise livestock. It would also require that laws related to livestock welfare be based on "generally accepted scientific principles" and be enacted by the legislature.

If approved by the legislature, the proposed amendment would go to a statewide vote.

Sponsoring House member Tom Loehner, a Koeltztown Republican, said agriculture is an important part of Missouri's economy that cannot afford to be held back by unnecessary regulations.

Critics said adding the amendment to Missouri's Constitution would make it harder to enforce existing agriculture rules and to write new ones.