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Question 3 passed 77.7% -22.3%. A landslide! Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen! Some news coverage and results at Masslive and Boston Magazine.
What does this measure do?
This ballot measure ensures that egg-laying hens, female breeding pigs, and veal calves are not kept in cages so small they can’t turn around or extend their limbs. It also ensures that products from these animals (whole eggs and whole uncooked cuts of pork or veal) sold in Massachusetts are compliant with these modest standards. The law takes effect in 2022. Read the full law on the state’s website.
About our support for this measure:
This ballot measure is a reasonable proposal and consistent with the MSPCA’s mission. The MSPCA was founded in 1868 to protect animals, relieve their suffering, advance their health and welfare, prevent cruelty, and work for a just and compassionate society. “Kindness and Care for Animals” – a simple but powerful concept – is at the root of our goals as a humane society. We believe that kindness and care should extend to all animals, including those raised for food. One of the ways the MSPCA demonstrates our commitment to farm animals is by caring for them at Nevins Farm in Methuen. Today, Nevins Farm, which is almost 100 years old, remains the only open-door farm animal and horse rescue center in New England.
Farm animals have intrinsic value, complexity, and dignity, and the billions of animals raised each year in the United States for food are entitled to live their lives able to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely. Consumers are demanding these higher animal welfare standards. Today, nearly 100 major food retailers — including McDonald’s, Walmart, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts — have policies to phase out specific confinement practices. In addition, the nation’s main companies that provide food at places such as the Boston Garden, Fenway, UMass Boston, Northeastern and other Massachusetts institutions have also made commitments to animal welfare that align with this proposed ballot measure. Building on this progress, and using the citizen initiative process, is a next step to help fulfill our commitment to farm animals.
The MSPCA has approached ballot measures carefully and selectively, and only supports using the initiative petition process as a tool to affect change after other means have been attempted. In this case, legislation relating to the confinement of farm animals has been filed, and lobbied for, in the legislature for more than a decade. The MSPCA maintains great respect for the legislature and the legislative process and appreciates the many other animal protection measures that have been advanced via that route.
We were pleased to join The Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the ASPCA, Zoo New England, and a long list of other organizations, as a supporter of the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.
The MSPCA believes this is a moderate and reasonable measure to address some of the most egregious practices inflicted upon farm animals.