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Cage-Free Decision on November Ballot for Bay Staters

Question 3 on Massachusetts' November ballot would prohibit cruel confinement of farm animals. (HSUS)
Question 3 on Massachusetts' November ballot would prohibit cruel confinement of farm animals. (HSUS)
October 13, 2016

BOSTON -- When Commonwealth voters cast their ballots in November, one box they may check will for Question 3: a measure to prohibit cruelty in the confinement of farm animals.

There are currently no rules for the confinement of farm animals in Massachusetts, said Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States. As a result, thousands of farm animals in the state are cramped in cages where they can barely move an inch their entire lives.

"Question 3 would establish some modest, commonsense rules for the treatment of farm animals,” Shapiro said; “mainly that they be able to at least turn around and extend their limbs. It really is that modest."

The measure would apply to veal and pork producers and require that eggs being sold in the state, from both local and out-of-state producers, be "cage-free.”

Some in the egg industry oppose Question 3. They say it would raise prices for consumers at the grocery store and could drive some farmers out of business.

October 12 was National Farmer's Day, and Shapiro noted that the ballot measure has garnered significant support from farmers in the Commonwealth.

"More than 100 Massachusetts family farms endorsed the 'Yes on 3' bid, as does the United Farm Workers,” Shapiro said; "because they know that cruel and inhumane conditions for farm animals are often bad for farmers and for farm workers, too."

If approved by voters, the Bay State would become the 11th in the nation to pass similar farm animal protection laws.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA