Massachusetts will vote on a ballot initiative that would ban certain means of confining farm animals in the state.

  • Consumers are increasingly demanding ethically-minded foods such as “Cage Free” and “Pasture Raised”.  Coupled with a heightened focus from animal welfare advocacy groups on animal raising conditions, it should come as no surprise that, earlier this summer, the Massachusetts Supreme Court approved a ballot initiative proposing that Massachusetts prohibit breeding pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens from being held in confined spaces.  The law would also apply to business owners who knowingly sell pork, veal, or eggs from animals held in a prohibited manner, even if the source is outside of Massachusetts.
  • The“Massachusetts Minimum Size Requirements for Farm Animal Containment,” also known as Question 3, is on the November 8, 2016, ballot in Massachusetts as an indirect initiated state statute.  Voting “yes” on this ballot initiative would support a prohibition on the sale of eggs, veal, or pork of a farm animal confined in spaces that prevent the animal from lying down, standing up, extending its limbs, or turning around.  The measure proposes a maximum fine of $1,000 for each violation.  If Massachusetts voters approve this ballot initiative, Massachusetts would become the first state to regulate containment conditions for food animals.
  • It remains to be seen whether and to what extent the Massachusetts vote on this ballot initiative will influence similar legislative or regulatory efforts.