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Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act Considered in Massachusetts

Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act Considered in Massachusetts

What do farm animals deserve?  Some believe at a minimum fresh air, outside access and enough space to move around freely.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of farm animals destined to become the neatly wrapped packages of meat you find at your local supermarket have no such opportunity.  That is because the disconnect created by factory farming does not allow the public to see firsthand the process of food production from birth to plate.

A handful of states have outlawed animal confinement systems, including gestation crates for sows (female pigs), veal crates for calves and battery cages for laying hens.  This year, Massachusetts is considering an amendment to its Animal Cruelty Statute, addressing all three confinement systems.

The Massachusetts bipartisan Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act aims to prohibit “…the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.”

Farm Sanctuary, a leading farm animal advocacy organization, supports Massachusetts’ efforts.  Dr. Allan Kornberg, Farm Sanctuary’s Executive Director and long time Massachusetts resident, is pleased to be a part and told me “progress is being made.”

The Farm Sanctuary website describes gestation crates for sows:

“The obvious cruelty of encasing an animal in a crate barely larger than her body precipitates a laundry list of maladies, both physical and psychological. Crated pigs develop joint problems from continuously standing on the slatted concrete floors, and they develop pressure sores from lying on hard floors for months on end.”

“Driven to madness by their intensive confinement, pigs — who are considered to be more intelligent than dogs — develop neurotic coping behaviors like incessant head waving, bar biting and sham chewing (chewing nothing). They are in a state of constant hunger, boredom and frustration, with no relief for their entire lives–save for a brief walk to the farrowing barn, where they are enclosed inside similarly tiny farrowing crates to give birth.”

Most young calves slated to become veal fare no better.  They are tethered to a small area barely larger than they are for the usual 16 weeks of life they are allowed to live before being sent to slaughter.  This type of confinement prevents calves from walking or even being able to turn around.

Take a look at a video from a few years ago of a California calf ranch.  It gives you a visual on what the lives of calves destined to become veal endure in their unnaturally shortened lifetimes.

And battery cages for hens give less floor space than a regular sheet of paper per hen for the few years of their miserable existence.  “We are not at the tipping point–but we are making progress,” says Dr. Kornberg.

Part of the process of change is public awareness.  Each state that enacts farm animal statutes is another rung in the ladder by which farm animals can escape their current status as non-living commodities.

What You Can Do

Sign the Care2 petition urging Massachusetts legislators to pass the Massachusetts Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.

Related Stories:
Washingtonians Call for Anti-Battery Cage Measure
Data Shows 20 Percent Growth in Factory Farming in Past 5 Years
Bold Factory Farm Campaign Launches in Australia

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Photo of veal calf confinement used with permission of Farm

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5:08PM PDT on Jun 5, 2011

I'm SO glad our state finally took a stand against the cruel confinement of farm animals! I refuse to eat veal, given the way the poor calves are treated. Once again, Massachusetts leads the way, despite the naysayers!

1:24PM PST on Feb 21, 2011

Farm animals deserve quality of life and dignity just as we do. Who are we to say that our lives are more important than theirs???!!!

8:44AM PST on Feb 21, 2011

Oh thats great, they spend most of their life crammed in there and then they go and get slaughtered what a great life they have :(

8:19AM PST on Feb 19, 2011

Thanks for sharing~

9:33PM PST on Feb 17, 2011

Humane quality divides us from unhuman.Animals go through hell and hell again so why eat them ?Haven't we any of compassion towards other lifeform that share oxygen on earth ? I guess some people always have themselves as number 1 priority no matter what cost .

6:37PM PST on Feb 16, 2011

Why is the petition closed at 5300+??

11:38AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

I think preventing cruelty in farm animals is a great idea I eat meat and would prefer them being treated more humanly before they die. Oh and don't give me any vegan rants about how much better your diet is it doesn't work so quiet down.

1:38AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

Signed. I believe in stuff like this. Thanks.

1:36PM PST on Feb 15, 2011

Read and Signed =]

2:14AM PST on Feb 15, 2011

No one of the factory owners thinks about how the animals must feel. Can't they imagine how horrible it must feel to be not able to move even if you COULD do it, even if you would like to jump and run and fly ?
If one imagines you can't leave your house because you're prevented from that, even that must be horrible, now how horrible it has to be to not even leave your broom cupboard? And a bit less space the animals have their whole life long.

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