S. 2481: An Act to upgrade hen welfare and establish uniform cage-free standards
MSPCA Position: Support
Sponsor: Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Dan Cahill
Status: Passed by the Senate on June 24, 2021. Passed by the House on October 6, 2021. Committee on conference appointed (Lewis-Rausch-Tarr-Dykema-Cahill-Orrall)
This legislation will upgrade conditions for egg-laying hens by mandating that they be able to engage in certain vital natural behaviors such as perching, nesting in boxes, dust bathing, and fully extending their wings.
In 2016, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly passed Question 3, the Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, which prohibits the confinement of egg-laying hens, mother pigs, and calves raised for veal in spaces that prevent them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely. Since then, leading retailers, producers, and other states have mandated even stronger standards in the shift to cage-free conditions for hens. The legislature has the opportunity to upgrade the 2016 law, bringing it in line with the new — stronger — welfare standard and expanding its application to liquid eggs (those often used in restaurants).
In the Headlines:
Groups pushing ‘upgrade’ in farm animal law, Commonwealth Magazine. April 27, 2021.