The Eagle-Tribune ("Let market drive humane farming," Aug. 19) points out the many problems of factory farming and we agree that it's an "ugly way to produce food."
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' mission of kindness and care extends to all animals, including those raised for food. We support the recently announced ballot measure because we believe that egg-laying hens, female breeding pigs, and veal calves should not be kept in cages so small they can't turn around or extend their limbs.
It costs less than a penny per egg to produce cage-free eggs rather than battery cage eggs, according to a study conducted by the egg industry itself. An Iowa State University study determined that it can cost 11 percent less not to use gestation crates. The Center for Food Safety has endorsed this measure because these confinement systems increase the risk of salmonella and other food! borne illnesses.
Nearly 100 major food retailers -- including McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, and Dunkin' Donuts -- have policies to phase out specific confinement practices. Building on this progress, and using the citizen initiative process to create a baseline for all parties, this is a moderate step to address some of the most egregious practices inflicted upon farm animals.
Massachusetts animals and consumers will benefit if residents vote "yes" on this reasonable measure next year.
Equine & Farm Animal Center