Voters in Massachusetts will decide next month whether to pass a far-reaching law to protect farm animals from extreme confinement, and polling suggests they will approve it overwhelmingly.
To the editor:
Citizens concerned with animal well-being and food safety are urged to vote Yes on Question 3 on Nov. 8. A yes vote is a vote in favor of the Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, which aims to phase out extreme methods of farm animal confinement. These methods of confinement not only harm farm animals, they also threaten the health and safety of Massachusetts consumers and increase the risk of food-borne illness.
A recently published letter "Question 3 would hurt family farmers in Massachusetts," contained several errors.
The sad truth is that there are currently thousands of farm animals right here in our state that are confined to small cages. Across the country, millions more are locked in cages in industrial facilities, suffering from deteriorating joints, respiratory diseases and other illnesses due to poor conditions.
It is outrageous to think we need a ballot question to provide farm animals raised for consumption (chickens, baby calves and mother pigs,) enough room to stand up, lie down and spread their limbs. Unfortunately, most people are too busy or disconnected from where their food comes from to understand how these animals are treated. They do not know the horrific, unsanitary conditions thousands of animals are living in that often breed food-borne illness, like salmonella. Spaces so small, they can’t move, let alone exhibit any natural behavior.
I am thrilled that I will have the chance to cast a "yes" vote for Question 3 on my ballot this year.
It is currently legal to confine chickens, pigs and calves to tiny cages where they are barely able to move. Farm animals currently have no protection against this kind of treatment. Because of this, thousands of hens in Massachusetts are living out their days crammed in tiny, barren cages.
Question 3 will offer these animals modest protections and ensure that they can at least move around a bit.
A yes vote on Question 3 -- on November's ballot -- would prevent cruelty to farm animals.
Unfortunately, George Moore's recent letter to the editor included a great deal of misinformation on this matter.
Question 3 is a modest measure that would give egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves enough space to spread their limbs and turn around. Mr. Moore claims that Question 3 is unnecessary, but there are actually -- and currently -- thousands of animals kept in cages in Massachusetts that can't engage in these basic movements.
I volunteer for the “YES ON 3” campaign. Over the past year more than 1,000 volunteers petitioned for this measure and received overwhelming support by gathering 170,000 signatures throughout the Commonwealth. I would like to clarify some information regarding Letter to the Editor titled; “Have You Seen Question 3 for the November Ballot?” (see Letters to the Editor, Groton Herald, Sept. 16 issue.)
One could argue that Massachusetts is behind the times when it comes to the prevention of cruelty to farm animals. In November, voters will be asked, in Ballot Question 3, to phase out "extreme methods of farm animal confinement” and ban the sale of eggs, veal or pork from an animal that is confined “in a cruel manner.”
Ten states have already passed similar laws, and many major retailers, including Walmart, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, have already promised to sell only cage-free eggs in the coming years.
It’s not surprising that front groups for egg corporations are trying to scare voters (“Farmers fear price increase due to ballot vote,” Sept. 14). But the truth is that voting “yes” on Question 3 is the smart move for Massachusetts.
We need to hold reckless corporations accountable. For example the operators of an egg farm in Maine, which the Humane Society of the United States exposed, confined hens to cages where they were forced to live with the rotting carcasses of their dead cage-mates.