Relying on the strength of more than 1,000 volunteers and no paid signature gathering firm, Citizens for Farm Animal Protection today announced that the coalition has gathered more than 130,000 signatures of Massachusetts voters in support of the proposed 2016 statewide ballot measure that would phase out extreme confinement and lifelong immobilization of animals on factory farms as well as the sale of products produced under those conditions.
The number of signatures collected is double the number of signatures required to qualify for the Massachusetts ballot.
Massachusetts-based and national animal protection leaders, supporters and volunteers convened at the Animal Rescue League of Boston to celebrate the record-breaking number of signatures gathered for any animal protection effort in the Commonwealth’s history.
“The statewide embrace of this effort underscores widespread and enduring support for securing additional protections for farm animals, and we’re looking forward to victory at the ballot box in 2016,” said Carter Luke, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell president and CEO.
Citizens for Farm Animal Protection includes veterinarians, animal welfare groups, farmers and others who are seeking to qualify a measure for the 2016 ballot phasing out the extreme confinement of breeding pigs, veal calves and egg-laying hens.
“Every day, we see how much people care about animals and are not at all surprised by the overwhelming support for this important initiative,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England president and CEO. “We, too, are proud to support it.”
Ten states have already passed laws to address similar inhumane confinement practices, and nearly 100 major food retailers—including McDonald’s and Walmart—are working with suppliers to make similar reforms in their food supply chains. Locally, family farmers, businesses, veterinarians and religious leaders have endorsed the measure.
“It’s cruel and inhumane to lock animals in cages where they can’t even turn around,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Massachusetts voters have signed petitions in droves, and it’s an excellent indicator on how the entire state electorate will view this common-sense reform effort on the ballot next fall.”
Many producers are already moving to cage-free environments. This measure, if passed, would require that these animals at least have enough room to turn around, lie down and stretch their limbs. The measure would also implement a similar retail standard in Massachusetts for eggs, veal, and pork.
“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of all the coalition members, volunteers and supporters, we all moved one step closer to ending the cruel confinement of farm animals,” said Mary Nee, President of the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
“This overwhelming number of signatures for an animal welfare initiative indicates how vehemently Massachusetts residents reject the inhumane confinement of farm animals,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “They join local farmers, veterinarians and businesses in calling for an end to animal cruelty as a pathway to corporate profit.”
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