Massachusetts Passes Upgrades to Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farmed Animals

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed Senate Bill 2603, which broadens the scope of “Question 3,” the state-wide ballot initiative voters approved in 2016 that set minimum standards for the confinement of chickens, veal calves, and pigs, and also banned the in-state sale of products that don’t comply with those standards. The upgraded requirements in the new law include mandating cage-free conditions for egg-laying hens with welfare enrichments, such as perches, dust bathing areas, scratching areas, and nest boxes. The new law also expands Question 3’s coverage to include “egg products” and liquid eggs, rather than just shell eggs. It is estimated this expansion will result in another 2 million hens each year being raised in cage-free housing. As a compromise to pass these upgrades, the new law delays Question 3’s enforcement by 7 months to August 15, 2022.