Livestock Board Bill

H. 441 : An Act to promote the care and well-being of livestock

MSPCA Position: Oppose
Sponsors: Representative Stephen Kulik
Status: Click Here

The testimony below was submitted on behalf of both the MSPCA and the Animal Rescue League of Boston for the version of the bill filed last legislative session. The language filed this year remains largely the same and our organizations continue to share the below concerns

October 28, 2015

713, An Act to promote the care and well-being of livestock

Animal Rescue League of Boston and MSPCA Position: Oppose

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Rescue League of Boston incorporate the “Five Freedoms” in our work. These Freedoms require animals to have: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress. Consistent with these Freedoms, we have opposed the use of crates, cages, and pens that either totally isolate individual animals from others of their species, or crowd many animals together so that their basic physical, behavioral and social needs are not met. We have supported legislation, and a ballot measure, to ensure pigs during pregnancy, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens have space to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely.

We have discussed H. 713, and versions of it in past years, with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (the organization that initiated it) as well as with its sponsor and other legislators. We have continued to state our concern that this “Livestock Care and Standards Board” could, now or in the future, use factors set forth in the authorizing language to consistently vote against improved standards for farm animals, rationalizing that the potential financial impact outweighs animal welfare considerations. We have also stated our concern that only 2 (of the 13) members on the board are animal protection organizations specifically intended to represent animal welfare interests.

The proposed ballot measure, an Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, is consistent with our missions and will obtain timely protections for these animals. H. 713 offers no such guarantee. This bill could consistently put our two organizations in the position of being the minority voice on this board and in a defensive position against proposed regulations or standards that prioritize the viability of farms or related businesses, but would not be in the best interest of farm animals or ensure their humane treatment.

Therefore, we oppose H. 713, and urge the Committee not to advance it.



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