Vote 'yes' to protect Mass. farm animals



Many residents of Massachusetts have driven by or even visited a local farm with their family. It may look like a beautiful picture right out of a calendar. But what many of you don't know is what really happens to farm animals on farms in Massachusetts that you do not drive by or cannot visit.

What you may not know is that farm animals are not treated like a family pet. Livestock on farms across Massachusetts are in great need of change and improvement in order to help sustain a healthy way of living. In 2015, a petition was cast and enough signatures were collected by concerned citizens to create a section for Massachusetts voters to vote on in November 2016. The petition questions whether passing a humane animal treatment initiative is a beneficial idea.

The initiative consists of two parts. One part would make it illegal to have "extreme confinement" of farm animals - specifically, egg-laying hens, breeding pigs and veal calves. The other would make it illegal for business owners in Massachusetts to sell any shell eggs, whole veal meat or whole pork meat that has been "confined in a cruel manner."

It is important for Massachusetts voters to vote "yes" for farm animal rights because these animals do not deserve the mistreatment they receive, and it should be illegal to sell farm products that have been raised in such poor conditions.

Farm animals are in extreme confinement on farms, having so little space that there isn't even enough room for a chicken to flap its wings or a pig to turn around. The humane treatment of farm animals all depends on the percent of humane Massachusetts voters there are who will vote in favor of the humane animal treatment initiative.

These animals are getting abused, tortured, stepped on and frequently hit. It would only make sense to change and drastically improve the living conditions of the farm animals to give them more space to move around, grow, and stay healthy, while also being steered clear from disease. Not everyone will have the desire to vote "yes" to the initiative because they don't have the knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes on farms. They don't know that chickens, pigs and calves live every day suffering from sickness, abuse and close quarters. If everyone was aware of the conditions these animals live every day, it is possible they would change their minds.

The pros of voting "yes" to this initiative are healthier meat, milk and eggs for human consumption, and an important message being communicated to the farm and agriculture industry regarding higher standards for humane treatment of animals. Voting "yes" in November to end the suffering of chickens, pigs and calves on farms in Massachusetts will put an end to the often inhumane practices of livestock farmers.

RACHEL GOULDER is entering her junior year at Foxboro Regional Charter School.