Having grown up on a farm, it only seems natural Billerica-resident DeeDee Dorrington is championing a cause seeking an end to the confinement of farm animals.
Dorrington has been ubiquitous, parading around town with a signature sheet and informational fliers in tow. As the town captain for the ‘Yes on 3’ campaign, Dorrington is using her background in farm animals as a catalyst for her efforts.
“I grew up on a small homestead farm in New Hampshire with goats, chicken, steers, and pigs,” she said. “We treated the animals with kindness.”
If approved on Nov. 8, Question 3 would prohibit farm owners from confining breeding pigs, calves raised for veal, or egg-laying hens in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely.
The proposed law would also prohibit any business owner in Massachusetts from selling these products if the animal was confined in a prohibited manner.
Dorrington first heard about the cause in winter 2015 and has been building momentum ever since. She was charged with collecting 1,000 signatures from townspeople in order to get the question on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Although a daunting number, Dorrington was confident people would support the cause.
“I was committed and I knew I would get it. But, I was literally working to the very last day,” she said.
Despite her buzzer-beating efforts, Dorrington finished with 1,010 signatures, an accolade that earned her Billerica captain for the Yes on 3 campaign.
Since then, she’s passed out fliers at Town Hall, went on Cosmo’s Journal on BATV, and knocked on countless doors across Billerica. She’s realized the importance in educating the town’s voters on the ballot question.
“At the end of the day, I would love people to vote yes with me but it’s more important to me that they make an educated vote,” she said.
Dorrington said she’s aware of the critiques on this movement and is taking them in stride as part of her campaign. She said people have expressed concern that Question 3 could hurt free market and make costs go up, but the 2022 implementation date will allow for a measured transition.
“I do respect that people might make a vote based on their financial situation,” she said. “I understand the argument that less regulation is better, but exceptions can be made.”
Dorrington said this law would not have a direct impact on Billerica and will likely have little on the state as a whole, given the state’s already humane practices. She thinks that should only encourage voters to support the campaign, because it will set strict regulations without negatively impacting local farms.
With the Nov. 8 election rapidly approaching, Dorrington is trying to keep her expectations in check but is excited by this educational campaign.
“Whether this vote passes or not, I’ve enjoyed the educational factor. It’s important to raise people’s consciousness level,” she said.
“If you run a campaign that’s positive, fun, and different, people are going to want to join your team,” she added.