As you know, MA Farm Bureau has been fighting an attempt by the DC-based Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to pass legislation (S 786 and H 458 – identical bills entitled An Act to prevent farm animal cruelty). These bills would ban veal crates and sow gestation crates – neither of which has been used by a single MA farmer in more than a decade, and neither of which will likely be used in MA again. These bills do not help animals. They simply help push HSUS’s agenda in other states and boost their donations. HSUS is using MA farmers as a pawn and we do not want to be put in that role.
MFBF has offered alternative legislation (S 2047 – An Act to promote the care and well being of livestock) which would create board which would have the authority to promulgate regulations on any livestock practice – including ones that actually exist in Massachusetts. This bill is also in Senate Ways and Means (See talking points below).
The HSUS bill has moved out of the Joint Committee on Judiciary with an “Out Not To Pass Recommendation” and has been sent on to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The “ought not to pass” vote is a tremendous black mark on this bill, but HSUS lobbyists are pushing hard on members of the Committee to pass this bill out of Committee and on for a Senate vote. They are reportedly neglecting to mention the “ought not to pass” determination of the Judiciary Committee in their discussions with Committee members.
We can’t let our guard down on this harmful legislation. The legislative session ends this Tuesday and a lot of surprising things can happen in the 11th hour on Beacon Hill.
Please contact members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee as AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and let them know that you oppose S 786. Member names, phone numbers and emails can be found at: http://www.malegislature.gov/Committees/Senate/S30
Suggested Talking Points:
Please Oppose S 786
- This bill does nothing to protect animals in the Commonwealth. Veal crates and gestation crates have not been used in MA for at least a decade.
- Most MA farmers sell directly to the public and have worked hard to gain the trust of their customers. Passage of this bill would suggest there is a problem on MA farms, and would undermine their trust.
- The Judiciary Committee voted that this bill “ought not to pass” – testimony to its many flaws.
- The Senate Ways and Means Committee should not report this bill favorably.
Please Support S 2047 – An Act to promote the care and well-being of livestock.
- S 2047 would create a Board at the Department of Agricultural Resources which would have the ability to create regulations governing the humane treatment of livestock. Where the HSUS bill is limited to practices which do not exist in MA, this Board could address ANY humane concern with Livestock.
- The MA Veterinary Medical Association supports S 2047 and has stated it is preferable to the HSUS bills. S 2047 has broad support among agricultural groups in MA, including the organic association (NOFA – MA) which has strict standards for animal welfare.
- S 2047 was reported favorably by the Joint Committee and is currently before Senate Ways and Means.