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. This page is meant to be used as a resource to see what is happening in your state and what actions you can take for animals.

State Rankings

Each year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund publishes its U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report. It is the longest-running and most authoritative of its kind, assessing the strength of each state’s animal protection laws by examining over 3,400 pages of statutes. Each state is ranked based on 19 different categories of animal protection.

Massachusetts
Overall Rank: #6 (Top Tier)

Active Legislation

cat

Funding Critical Health Services for Animals In Need (Massachusetts)

State Budget Allocates Funds for Spay, Neuter, and Vaccination Services
Amendments to Massachusetts state budget would allocate funds to the Mass Animal Fund (Fund), which provides critical animal health services—including spay and neuter surgeries and vaccinations—to animals in need.
hen

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 (H.864/S.36), 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.
lion

Protecting Animals Used in Circuses (Massachusetts)

An Act Relative to the Use of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, and Bears in Traveling Exhibits (H.3376/S.2251)
Prohibit the use of elephants, big cats, primates, giraffes, and bears in circuses and traveling shows in Massachusetts.
beagles

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

An Act Protecting Research Animals (H.890/H.901/S.613)
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
rhino

Halting Trafficking in Ivory and Rhino Horn (Massachusetts)

An Act Preventing Trafficking in Ivory and Rhino Horns (S.576/H.903)
Restricts the sale of ivory and rhino horn in Massachusetts.
Banning the Sale of Fur (Massachusetts)

Banning the Sale of Fur (Massachusetts)

An Act Prohibiting the Sale of Fur Products (H.965/S.623)
Bans the sale of new fur products, including clothing, fashion accessories, and home décor, in the Commonwealth
deer

Preventing Convicted Wildlife Poachers from Hunting in Massachusetts (Massachusetts)

An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices (H.904/S.587)
Modernizes penalties for illegal hunting and enters Massachusetts in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
dog and cat

Animal Possession Ban (Massachusetts)

An Act Relative to Protecting Animals From Abusers (H.1824/S.1111)
Bars people convicted of animal cruelty from possessing, adopting, or fostering animals for at least five years after their release from custody

Active Cases

No results found.

Recent Victories

fox

Ending Killing Contests in Massachusetts

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

Take Action

Take action now to help animals in your state.

dog

Massachusetts: Keep Animals Away from Abusers

An Act Relative to Protecting Animals From Abusers (H.1824/S.1111) would prohibit a person convicted of certain animal cruelty crimes — including torture, mutilation, and dogfighting — from possessing, adopting, or fostering an animal for at least five years.
cat

Massachusetts: Help Protect Animals from Cruel Conditions

Ask your state representative to co-sponsor two animal protection budget amendments.
white-tailed deer

Massachusetts: Help Stop Illegal Hunting

Help stop illegal hunting and fishing in Massachusetts by urging your state legislators to co-sponsor H.904/S.587, An Act Further Regulating the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices. The bills have been filed by State Senator Mike Moore and, jointly, by State Representatives Lori Ehrlich and Ann-Margaret Ferrante.
cat

Massachusetts: Ask Your State Senator to Include Help for Animals in Need in the Budget

Ask your state representative to co-sponsor two animal protection budget amendments.
hen

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

Egg-laying hens are among the most abused animals in the country yet have few legal protections. Urge your state senator and representative to co-sponsor An Act to upgrade hen welfare and establish uniform cage-free standards (HD 596/S.36), filed by Representative Dan Cahill and Senator Jason Lewis.
Massachusetts: Ask Your State Legislators to Ban Fur Sales

Massachusetts: Ask Your State Legislators to Ban Fur Sales

An Act Prohibiting the Sale of Fur Products (H.965/S.623), sponsored by Representative Jack Patrick Lewis and Senator John Velis, would ban the sale of new fur products, including clothing, fashion accessories, and home décor, in the Commonwealth.
elephant

Massachusetts: Help Wild Animals Exploited by Circuses

Ask your state legislators to co-sponsor An Act Relative to the Use of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, Giraffes, and Bears in Traveling Exhibits (H.3776/S.2251). This bill would prohibit the use of certain animals in circuses and traveling shows in Massachusetts.
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.

Massachusetts is considering a number of significant animal protection bills this legislative session. Read more about our initiatives in the state here: