BOSTON – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a measure that delays implementation of the commonwealth’s animal confinement law until Aug. 15, 2022. The voter-approved Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, also known as Question 3, was set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Lawmakers on Dec. 22 approved a bill to delay enforcement of the new regulations. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General was supposed to announce final rules before Jan. 1, 2020. So far, those final rules have not been released. Massachusetts voters approved Question 3 in 2016.

Pork producers and processors have said more time is needed to assess operations and supply chains to determine if it is feasible to continue supplying products to Massachusetts in compliance with the proposed regulation.

The North American Meat Institute and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) have spoken against the law and expressed support for delayed implementation.

“Question 3, like Prop. 12, lacks any scientific, technical or agricultural basis and only will inflict economic harm on America’s pork producers and even jeopardize the well-being of their animals,” said Jen Sorensen, NPPC president. “We’re grateful the legislature listened to our concerns and delayed implementation of Question 3 so that at least producers in and outside the state can have more time to consider their options and continue to supply pork to Bay Staters.”

Similar to California’s Proposition 12, the Massachusetts law sets minimum standards for confinement of livestock, including poultry, veal calves and pigs. The law bans the sale of pork from hogs born to sows housed in pens that don’t comply with the new standards. The law applies to any uncooked pork sold in Massachusetts, whether it’s produced there or outside its borders.