Mary Mahony writes:
I am writing to you in support of [the legislation] that bans gestation crates and veal crates. I am also very concerned about the Farm Bureau Bill. If passed they are not at all financially neutral and again, this could determine the fate of many animals in a very negative way.
It is actually quite concerning to me that many people have no idea of what goes on with the meat they are eating before it gets to their plates. If they did know, they might perhaps eat less of it and what they did eat, become very selective about where it is purchased. Mary
I share your concerns about farm animal cruelty. According to all I have been in contact with — and I have had extensive conversations with animal protection groups — we don’t have veal crates or gestation crates on any farm in Massachusetts. However, the legislation has prophylactic value and, more importantly, symbolic value in the nationwide fight to improve conditions in “factory farms.” I feel that Massachusetts should stand up on this issue and that doing so would be of benefit to local farmers — with this legislation in place they can more effectively certify that they are humane farmers.
For these reasons, I have been a strong and consistent supporter of the humane confinement legislation. I worked hard to get the support together to move it out of my committee, the Judiciary Committee, to the full Senate. I am now working to get support together for moving it to active floor consideration.
Update on August 2, 2014: To my chagrin, this is one of the bills that did not get through the final gate this session. Opposition from farm interests was impossible to overcome. Farm interests in Massachusetts said that they felt the bill, by prohibiting practices that they did not engage in anyway, was an unfair “black-eye” for them. My view was that they should embrace it as a certificate of quality which would justify the higher prices for meat from small local farms. My view did not prevail.