Massachusetts

Updates about legal issues facing animals in the state

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works at the federal, state and local levels to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals.

Animal Protection Laws Ranking

Each year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund publishes its U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report. Each state is ranked based on 20 different categories of animal protection.

Massachusetts
Overall Rank: #6 (Top Tier)

  • +Felony provisions for cruelty, neglect, fighting, abandonment, and sexual assault
  • +Mandatory post-conviction forfeiture
  • +Protection orders may include animals
  • -Standards for minimum acceptable care for animals (e.g. necessary food, water, shelter) are not well-defined
  • -No statutorily authorized sentencing to mental health evaluation or treatment

Take Action

Take action now to help animals in your state.

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cow

Stop Ag-Gag Laws

Undercover investigations and whistleblowers have exposed some of the worst aspects of factory farming, but Ag-Gag laws punish people who speak out about cruelty in animal agriculture. Voice your opposition.
dog

No More Puppy Mills

Puppy mill operators maximize their profits by producing large numbers of puppies as quickly as possible. As a result, unsanitary conditions, disease, and neglect are rampant. Sign our pledge to boycott puppy mills. Together we can end cruel puppy mills.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Want to take the next step in your animal advocacy? Learn the skills you need to pass laws protecting animals at the local level! Local laws are critical – not only do they help individual animals in your community but prime state legislation.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Learn how wild animals are exploited in circuses and traveling shows, and how you can help!
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Learn how to fight back against the cruel fur industry by passing a fur ban in your community! Led by Animal Legal Defense Fund Campaigns Manager Elizabeth Holtz, this webinar will walk you through the mechanics of fur production, the policy issues, including animal cruelty, environmental impacts, and public health, and more.

Recent Victories

deer

Preventing Convicted Wildlife Poachers from Hunting in Massachusetts (Massachusetts)

An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices (H.4442)
Modernizes penalties for illegal hunting and enters Massachusetts in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
beagles

Facilitating the Adoption of Dogs and Cats Retired from Laboratories (Massachusetts)

An Act Protecting Research Animals (H.901)
Requires dogs and cats at research institutions or product testing facilities be offered for adoption through a non-profit animal shelter or rescue or through private placement once the research ends, if a necropsy is not mandated
hen

Upgrading Standards for Hens Used by the Egg Industry (Massachusetts)

An Act to Upgrade Hen Welfare and Establish Uniform Cage-free Standards (S.2481)
Improves conditions for hens used by the egg industry by mandating that they be able to engage in certain vital natural and expands coverage to hens whose eggs are used for egg products commonly used by cafeterias and fast food chains
cat and dog

Funding Critical Animal Health Services In Massachusetts FY2021 State Budget

State Budget Allocates Funds for Spay, Neuter, and Vaccination Services
Governor signs state budget allocating $50k to provide critical animal health services to animals in need.
cat

Funding Critical Health Services for Animals In Need (Massachusetts)

State Budget Allocates Funds for Spay, Neuter, and Vaccination Services
Governor signs state budget allocating funds to provide critical animal health services—including spay and neuter surgeries and vaccinations—to animals in need.
fox

Ending Killing Contests in Massachusetts

In 2019, Massachusetts adopted regulations banning killing contests for certain animals, including coyotes, foxes, and bobcats.

Active Legislation

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Active Cases

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