Humane Farm Animal Care

S. 439, H. 1555: An Act to Ensure Continued Humane Animal Care and Support Family Farms in Massachusetts

Sponsors: Senator Jason Lewis/Senator Hedlund/Rep. Dave Rogers

Bill Status:  S. 439 sent to the Judiciary Committee; H. 1555 sent to the Environment, Natural Resouces and Agriculture Committee

What would this bill do?
This important legislation would end and prevent some of the most extreme forms of confinement for Massachusetts’ farm animals. It would prevent the use of veal crates and gestation crates in the Commonwealth. In these individual crates, mother pigs and calves cannot turn around freely, socialize, or express their most basic behaviors.
 
Why do we need this bill?
Farm animals deserve, at least, the opportunity to move about naturally. By prohibiting gestation crates for breeding pigs and veal crates for calves, lawmakers will, keep factory farms out of the Commonwealth and build consumer trust thereby protecting our Massachusetts brand of agriculture. The bill also levels the playing field for our humane-minded family farmers who refuse to take short-cuts when it comes to animal husbandry.

Who supports this bill?
Massachusetts voters.  A 2014 Mason Dixon poll found that over 90 percent of Massachusetts voters favor outlawing these cruel confinement systems.

A broad coalition of animal protection, sustainable farming, food safety, and environmental advocates. Supporters of this bill last session included the Massachusetts Sierra Club, MSPCA, Massachusetts Voters for Animals, Berkshires Votes for Animals, Winslow Farm Sanctuary, Maple Farm Sanctuary, the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Forward, Farm Sanctuary, Animal Welfare Institute, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Humane League, and Western Massachusetts Animal Advocates.

Will a new law have a fiscal impact?
No. This law will be part of the chapter of laws that covers animal cruelty will not require new regulations or inspections. Enforcement will be complaint-based, as with other incidents of animal cruelty.

Have other states passed similar laws?
Yes. Momentum is building. Rhode Island, Maine, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, and California have passed similar prohibitions. New Jersey’s legislature overwhelmingly passed similar legislation this session. The EU has maintained a ban on these practices for many years and the Canadian government recently banned gestation crates. Throughout the country, states are moving quickly to protect farm animals from abuse. It is time to pass this bill.