Less than a week ago, voters in Massachusetts chose compassion over cruelty. By a wide margin, the Massachusetts Minimum Size Requirements for Farm Animal Containment (aka Question 3), passed into law.
Despite warnings that consumers could see a spike in the price of some key food “staples,” on Tuesday nearly 78 percent of voters decided that humane treatment of livestock was more important.
So what is Question 3? According to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), the measure ensures that “egg-laying hens, female breeding pigs, and veal calves” are not kept in cages so small that they are prevented from turning around or extending their limbs.
Farm animals have intrinsic value, complexity, and dignity, and the billions of animals raised each year in the United States for food are entitled to live their lives able to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely. Consumers are demanding these higher animal welfare standards.
Individuals who were arguing against the measure claimed that the new standards, and subsequent “higher prices,” would equate to a tax on the poor. As reported by the Boston Globe, the farm industry claims that current standards are already “safe and humane.” The industry has stated that the current “efficient” methods ensure that consumers have access to low-cost food.
Large scale farming institutions, including the National Pork Producers Council, allege that the measure is part of a bigger “vegan agenda.”
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