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June 2, 2009

Mass. Bill Takes Aim at Factory Farming Abuse

The Humane Society of the United States

At a hearing tomorrow, Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary and MSPCA representatives will urge the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture to pass an important bill aimed at preventing cruelty to farm animals.

The hearing will be held in the State House tomorrow, June 3, at 1 p.m. in Room A-2.

The bill, HB 815 — authored by Rep. Pam Richardson, 6th Middlesex — simply requires certain farm animals to have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs. It would prevent three of the most notorious factory farm abuses: veal crates for calves, battery cages for egg-laying hens and gestation crates for breeding pigs. These cruel and inhumane cages are so tiny, the animals barely have enough room to move.

Rep. Richardson stated, "This common-sense bill prevents animal cruelty, as well as protects our state from massive factory farms that pollute our environment and push family farmers out of business."

"The Humane Society of the United States commends Rep. Richardson for introducing this bill to prevent cruel and inhumane confinement of farm animals," stated Paul Shapiro, senior director of The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "It's simply wrong to confine animals in tiny cages barely larger than their bodies."

"Farm animals should not be confined in tiny cages where they're virtually immobilized for their whole lives," said Delcianna Winders, director of legal campaigns for Farm Sanctuary. "We urge the committee to pass this modest reform."

Last month, Maine became the sixth U.S. state to ban tiny crates for animals on factory farms. And in a landslide November vote, Californians approved the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, making it a criminal offense (with a phase-out) to confine pigs in gestation crates, calves in veal crates and egg-laying hens in battery cages.

Facts

  • The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act was approved by a landslide 63.5 percent of California voters. More than 8.2 million Californians voted to enact Prop 2, making it the state's most popular citizen initiative ever — in the country's top ag state, no less. Other states have passed similar reforms, including Maine, Colorado, Florida, Arizona and Oregon.
  • Across the country, restaurants, producers, and retailers — including Safeway, Burger King, Wendy's,  Carl's Jr. and Hardees, Wolfgang Puck and Smithfield Foods—are increasingly moving away from supporting cages and crates on factory farms.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the web at humanesociety.org.

Follow Farm Sanctuary on Twitter.

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. Additional information can be found at farmsanctuary.org.

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