Massachusetts voters push farm animal measure to the ballot, with broad, powerful coalition

By on June 28, 2016 with 7 Comments

Voters in Massachusetts just took the Bay State one giant step closer to delivering a powerful punch to agribusiness interests that want to keep locking farm animals in cramped, overcrowded cages. Fueled by more than a thousand volunteer signature gatherers, The HSUS and other members of the coalition backing the farm animal protection ballot measure in Massachusetts finished our second and final phase of signature collection and ran through the tape at full gallop. In fact, volunteers gathered more than three times the number of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

While The HSUS is working hard on this, we are by no means alone. This has been a fabulous collaboration with dozens of organizations, including the ASPCA, the Massachusetts SPCA, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, Zoo New England, Humane League, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, Farm Forward, Compassion in World Farming, Animal Equality, Farm Sanctuary, and now the Massachusetts chapter of the Sierra Club, which recently endorsed the ballot measure.

As I travel around the country, people ask me, why don’t animal groups pull together? Why don’t we work more closely with environmental organizations, especially on agriculture issues?

Well that’s exactly what we are doing.

I want to send special thanks to the Sierra Club, which is a powerful force for good in our society. The Sierra Club just devoted valuable real estate on its home page to an extended discussion with me on The Humane Economy, the key elements of animal protection, and the intersection of our organizational interests. In the extended interview, I devoted considerable attention to food and agriculture issues and didn’t pull punches on the importance of tackling these issues and asking all people of conscience to look at the true costs of factory farms – environmental, personal health, public health, and animal cruelty.

The Massachusetts ballot measure pulls together so many groups with varying concerns about the consequences of factory farming. Generally speaking, if passed, the measure would make it illegal in Massachusetts to sell eggs, veal, or pork from facilities that confine animals in cages. It would help codify into law the corporate cage-free pledges we’ve secured from so many of the biggest food retailers in the nation. And it would make one thing very clear: there’s simply no future in caging animals. That era is officially ending.

The factory farming lobby sees the momentum we have on this campaign, and it knows that voters overwhelmingly favor the reform we’re seeking. As such, they’ve filed a lawsuit to try to boot us from the November ballot altogether, denying voters the ability to decide such an important issue. We expect that court case to be resolved in early July.

Already, the Big Ag industry is calling Massachusetts “the next battleground” and is gearing up for a fight, should their lawsuit fail. Their desperate attempt to defeat this ballot measure is a sort of last stand against the wave of action to end extreme confinement. But they’ll be hard pressed to withstand the influence and reach of our coalition and devoted advocates who toiled to gather the signatures to put this measure before voters.

When the factory farmers bring their fight to Massachusetts, our coalition – so diverse and so strong — will be ready.

Categories
Farm Animals, Humane Economy, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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7 Comments

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  1. NANCY BLUM says:

    How can we rid this country of gestation crates? They are torture. Thank you.

  2. GABRIELA VARGAS says:

    UNO DE LOS ASUNTOS MÁS URGENTES DE TODO EL MUNDO ES LA SALVACIÓN, EL EMPUJE Y LA PREOCUPACIÓN POR LOS ANIMALES DE GRANJA, LOS CUALES SON LOS MÁS EXPLOTADOS Y TERRIBLEMENTE TRATADO DE TODAS LAS ESPECIES. NO PODEMOS PERMITIR QUE ESTO SIGA PASANDO Y ES DE VITAL IMPORTANCIA DEDICARNOS A SALVAGUARDAR LOS DERECHOS DE TODOS ESTOS SERES VIVOS, ESPECIES INCREÍBLES DE LAS CUALES EL SER HUMANO HA ABUSADO DE FORMA MISERABLE Y VIL. ESTAMOS TODOS ENFURECIDOS Y ABATIDOS POR ESTA SITUACIÓN AL REDEDOR DE TODO EL PLANETA. URGE CENTRAR NUESTROS OBJETIVOS EN LEYES QUE LOS PROTEJAN Y EN LA FORMACIÓN DE SANTUARIOS QUE LES DEN UNA VIDA DIGNA.

  3. Babs Box says:

    I wish the backwards people of Mississippi would get on board fighting against animal cruelty. I think this is a huge success against these animals being cruely penned or caged

  4. Sally Palmer says:

    One of the reasons I admire The HSUS so much is that you have worked to show that it takes everyone coming together to get laws passed that validate the humane treatment of animal beings and provide solid ground on which to move forward and make real, lasting change. What’s happening in Massachusetts is a great example of the systematic, community approach to legislative action that’s required to challenge those who have no scruples when it comes to business or personal gain. It’s both nervewracking and terrifying to watch, knowing so much suffering hangs in the balance but seeing the worst side of humanity willing to do just about anything to perpetuate that suffering.

  5. David Bernazani says:

    Why is Big Ag even bothering to fight reform any more? They should certainly know by now that the world has changed and they must change with it; so why throw good money after bad trying to stop it?
    I can’t believe how resistant they are to making ethical improvements for the welfare of their own animals. It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.

  6. Patricia Folman says:

    Thank you for pushing this measure. I feel tortured every time I see how animals suffer in the concentration camp-like farms.

  7. Mike Segreto says:

    Free range farmers cannot compete against those who cage. However, if this was a nationwide law, then all farmers would be in the same competitive position, removing the advantage cagers have today while relieving the suffering of the animals.

    A Mass only law won’t work well IMO.

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