WASHINGTON – On Aug. 6, the Massachusetts Legislature declined to pass legislation backed by animal-rights groups that would have prohibited hog farmers in the state from housing sows in gestation stalls. 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.
Gestation stalls are used for pregnant sows because they allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows. The Massachusetts bill would have banned the practice, plus limit other practices farmers use to care for their animals, according to the National Pork Producers Council.
Well-funded animal-rights groups have poured significant amounts of money into northeast states for years in an unsuccessful attempt to strong-arm lawmakers into passing laws that restrict the rights of farmers, NPPC charged. 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, NPPC added.
“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 Newburyport, Mass.-based hog farmer. “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. 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.”