JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri agriculture groups, angered that Governor Nixon has vetoed a couple of bills declaring deer to be livestock, will be pressuring the legislature to override the vetoes.
Nixon acknowledges there are important issues in the omnibus agriculture bills. But he maintains the parts declaring captive deer to be livestock are unconstitutional.
The Missouri Constitution gives the Conservation Department control of all “bird, fish, game, forestry, and all wildlife resources of the state.” Backers think they get around that provision by declaring captive deer are something other than a “wildlife resource,” allowing the Agriculture Department, not Conservation, to regulate them.
The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association’s Mike Deering says his group will be among more than a dozen farming groups pushing for the override.
Legislators behind the bills say the Conservation Department has proposed regulations that will put deer-raising farmers out of business. Some of the deer are being raised for private game preserves, and conservation backers say that if they’re being raised as “game,” they fall under department regulation.
Legislation sought by several agriculture groups had been combined into the bills. Each of those groups hopes an override will give them what they want.