Massachusetts Legislature Preserves Farmers’ Rights
WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014 – The National Pork Producers Council and America’s hog farmers today thanked the Massachusetts Legislature for refusing to pass a misguided bill to restrict the rights of local farmers. Legislation backed by animal-rights groups would have prohibited hog farmers in the state from housing sows in gestation stalls.
Hog farmers – the vast majority family-owned – use gestation stalls for pregnant sows because they allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows. The Massachusetts bill would have banned the practice, as well as limited other practices farmers use to care for their animals.
The legislation was approved by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, but then was held in the Senate Ways and Means Committee and was not brought up in the full House before the legislature ended its formal session.
For years, well-funded animal-rights groups have poured significant amounts of money into northeast states in an unsuccessful attempt to strong-arm lawmakers into passing laws that restrict the rights of farmers. The states, which have little pork production, are being used by animal-rights groups as pawns to advance a national agenda aimed at controlling how farmers raise and care for their animals.
“Massachusetts family farmers are relieved the legislature had the good sense not to waste time debating a law prohibiting farmers’ choices in taking care of their animals,” said Lisa Colby, a hog farmer from Newburyport, Mass.
Under intense and continuous pressure from animal-rights groups, Massachusetts hog farmers stood strong and refused to be bullied.
“It is unfortunate these organizations insist on wasting lawmakers’ time – and their donors’ contributions – on so many failed attempts to deny farmers’ right to farm,” Colby said. “No two farms are alike, and we thank the legislature for realizing that farmers should have the freedom to operate in the best way for their farm and for their animals.”