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Upgrading Standards for Egg-Laying Hens (Massachusetts)

An Act to Upgrade Hen Welfare and Establish Uniform Cage-free Standards (H.864/S.36)

An Act to Upgrade Hen Welfare and Establish Uniform Cage-free Standards (HD 596/SD 212), filed by Representative Dan Cahill and Senator Jason Lewis, would upgrade conditions for egg-laying hens by mandating that they be able to engage in certain vital natural behaviors such as perching, nesting in boxes, dust bathing, and fully extending their wings.

Updated

May 12, 2021

Work Type

Legislation

Status

Active

An Act to Upgrade Hen Welfare and Establish Uniform Cage-free Standards (H.864/S.36) would upgrade conditions for egg-laying hens by mandating that they be able to engage in certain vital natural behaviors such as perching, nesting in boxes, dust bathing, and fully extending their wings.

In 2016, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly passed what at the time was the strongest law for farmed animals in history, An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, known as Question 3, which will take effect in 2022. Since it was passed, leading retailers, producers, and other states, including California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington, mandated even stronger cage-free standards for egg-laying hens.

Massachusetts: Urge Your State Legislators to Protect the Welfare of Egg-Laying Hens

Ask your state legislator to support legislation that would upgrade conditions for egg-laying hens by mandating access to enrichments that allow engagement in vital natural behaviors.

Take Action

The legislature has the opportunity to upgrade the 2016 law, bringing it in line with the new — stronger — standard and expanding its application to liquid eggs (those often used by fast food chains). This upgrade has the support of both the leading Question 3 proponents and opponents of the 2016 campaign.

This legislation is sponsored by Representative Dan Cahill (D-10th Essex) and Senator Jason Lewis (D-5th Middlesex). It has broad support from the animal protection community, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), Animal Rescue League of Boston, and Humane Society of the United States; the New England Brown Egg Council; Massachusetts Food Association; egg producers in the Commonwealth; and the Attorney General, who is responsible for promulgating regulations and enforcement.

If you live in Massachusetts, please take action and urge your legislators to support this bill.

Learn more about farmed animals and the law.