hen

Upgrading Standards for Egg-Laying Hens (Massachusetts)

An Act to Upgrade Hen Welfare and Establish Uniform Cage-free Standards (HD 596 and SD 212)

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

February 8, 2021

Work Type

Legislation

Status

Active

Egg-laying hens are among the most abused animals in the country yet have few legal protections. 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.

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, and Washington, mandated even stronger standards in the shift to cage-free conditions for hens.

The legislature has the opportunity right now to upgrade the 2016 law, bringing it in line with the new — stronger — standard and expanding its application to liquid eggs (those often used in restaurants). This upgrade language has the support of both the leading Question 3 proponents and opponents of the 2016 campaign (including leading animal protection organizations, egg industry trade groups, and producers) as well as the Attorney General, who is responsible for promulgating related regulations and enforcement.

The bill language is supported by members of our Commonwealth’s 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 as well as the New England Brown Egg Council,  Massachusetts Food Association, and egg producers in the Commonwealth as well as the Attorney General, who is responsible for promulgating regulations and enforcement.

Learn more about farmed animals and the law.

Sign Up!

Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund's email list to stay up to date on lawsuits, legislation, and regulations affecting animals.

Sign Up Now