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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have shifted responsibility for regulating Missouri deer ranches to the Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of Conservation.

Nixon said he vetoed the bill Tuesday partly because he believes it would thwart the state's efforts to prevent deer disease.

The legislation would have classified captive deer as livestock, similar to cattle, hogs and sheep. That would have subjected deer ranchers to agricultural rules and made them eligible for sales tax exemptions.

The measure was backed by the deer ranching industry and others who are opposed to tougher regulations being proposed by the Conservation Department. Last month, the agency endorsed a proposed rule change that would ban the importation of deer from other states and require double fencing for new permit holders.

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