Massachusetts

An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals

In November, 2016, Massachusetts voters, with a landslide 78% of the vote, approved a ballot initiative to prevent animal cruelty by phasing out extreme methods of farm animal confinement.

The provisions of this Act take effect on January 1, 2022.

I. It shall be unlawful for a farm owner or operator within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to knowingly cause any covered animal to be confined in a cruel manner.

“Covered animal” means any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen that is kept on a farm.

“Confined in a cruel manner” means confined so as to prevent a covered animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely.

II.  It shall be unlawful for a business owner or operator to knowingly engage in the sale within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of any shell egg, whole veal meat, or whole pork meat that the business owner or operator knows or should know is the product of a covered animal that was confined in a cruel manner.

Eggs:

The new law will not only make it unlawful to confine a laying hen in a cruel manner within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but will also make it unlawful for a business owner or operator to knowingly engage in the sale within Massachusetts of any shell eggs produced from laying hens confined in a cruel manner in which the animal is prevented from from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely, regardless of where the eggs were produced.

Pork:

 

For pork sold in Massachusetts—no matter where the production took place—the meat cannot come from a supply chain that uses gestation crates. Some pork producers are now group-housing sows for part of their lives but still crate-confining them for several weeks at a time. To be clear, that will also be illegal. In fact, the *only* exemptions are:

 

  1. for the five (5) day period prior to a breeding pig’s expected date of giving birth;
  2. any day that a breeding pig is nursing piglets; and
  3. during temporary periods for animal husbandry—with a confinement limit of six hours in any 24-hour period.

 

So all in all, what will be illegal is any confinement of sows where they cannot turn around—including confinement after insemination, post-weaning, and pre-insemination—except for the three exemptions above. And also to be clear: this law's standards apply not only to the production of pork but also the sale of pork.

California:

Farm Animal Cruelty (Proposition 12)

In November, 2018, California voters, with 63% of the vote, approved a ballot measure establishing minimum space requirements for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens, and banned the sale of products from these animals when confined to areas below the minimum space requirements.

This new law builds upon California’s Proposition 2 approved in 2008, commencing January 1, 2015, which prohibits the confinement of calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens, and pregnant pigs in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs; and

AB 1437 passed in 2010 which, commencing January 1, 2015, prohibits the sale of a shelled egg for human consumption if it is the product of an egg-laying hen that was confined on a farm or place that is not in compliance with the standards set forth in Proposition 2.

Proposition 12 increases the space requirements for covered animals and expands the sales prohibition as follows:

  1. A farm owner or operator within the state shall not knowingly cause any covered animal to be confined in a cruel manner.

“Covered animal” means any calf raised for veal, breeding pig, or egg-laying hen who is kept on a farm.

“Confined in a cruel manner” means any one of the following acts:

(1)  Confining a covered animal in a manner that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely.

(2)  After December 31, 2019, confining a calf raised for veal with less than 43 square feet of usable floorspace per calf.

(3)  After December 31, 2021, confining a breeding pig with less than 24 square feet of usable floorspace per pig.

(4)  After December 31, 2019, confining an egg-laying hen with less than 144 square inches of usable floorspace per hen.

(5)  After December 31, 2021, confining an egg-laying hen with less than the amount of usable floorspace per hen required by the 2017 edition of the United Egg Producers’ Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg-Laying Flocks: Guidelines for Cage-Free Housing or in an enclosure other than a cage-free housing system.

  1.  A business owner or operator shall not knowingly engage in the sale within the state of any whole veal meat, whole pork meat or is the meat of immediate offspring, shell eggs, and liquid eggs that the business owner or operator knows or should know is the product of a covered animal who was confined in a cruel manner.

Eggs:

Current law:  It is unlawful to confine an egg-laying hen in a cruel manner within the State of California, or knowingly engage in the sale within California of any shell or liquid eggs produced from laying hens confined in a cruel manner in which the animal is prevented from from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely.

January 1, 2020:  It will be unlawful to produce or sell shell or liquid eggs from hens confined to less than 144 square inches of usable floorspace per hen.

January 1, 2022:  It will be unlawful to produce or sell shell or liquid eggs from hens confined to less than the amount of usable floorspace per hen required by the 2017 edition of the United Egg Producers’ Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg-Laying Flocks: Guidelines for Cage-Free Housing (1.0 sq. ft. (multi-tiered aviaries and partially slatted systems) and 1.5 sq. ft (single-level all-litter floor system), or in an enclosure other than a cage-free housing system.

 

Pork:

Current law:  It is unlawful to confine a breeding pig in a cruel manner within the State of California, or knowingly engage in the sale within California of any whole pork meat that the business owner or operator knows or should know is the meat of a covered animal who was confined in a cruel manner, or is the meat of immediate offspring of a covered animal who was confined in a cruel manner, that is, in which the animal is prevented from from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely.

January 1, 2022:  It will be unlawful to confine, or sell whole pork meat produced from, a breeding pig with less than 24 square feet of usable floorspace per pig.

For pork sold in California—no matter where the production took place—the meat cannot come from a supply chain that uses gestation crates. Some pork producers are now group-housing sows for part of their lives but still crate-confining them for several weeks at a time. To be clear, that will also be illegal. In fact, the *only* exemptions are:

 

  1. for the five (5) day period prior to a breeding pig’s expected date of giving birth;
  2. any day that a breeding pig is nursing piglets; and
  3. during temporary periods for animal husbandry for no more than six hours in any 24-hour period, and no more than 24 hours total in any 30-day period.

 

So all in all, what will be illegal is any confinement of sows where they cannot turn around—including confinement after insemination, post-weaning, and pre-insemination—except for the three exemptions above. And also to be clear: this law's standards apply not only to the production of pork but also the sale of pork.

 

Washington:

In May, 2019 Washington passed legislation banning the production or sale within Washington of caged shell eggs by January 1, 2024.

Oregon:

In June, 2019, Oregon passed legislation banning the production or sale within Oregon of caged shell eggs by January 1, 2024.

Michigan:

In December, 2019, Michigan passed legislation phasing out cages for egg-laying hens and prohibiting the sale of shell eggs from caged hens in Michigan.

I.  A farm owner or operator shall not do either of the following:

(a)  Tether or confine a covered animal on a farm for all or the majority of any day, in a manner that prevents the covered animal from doing either of the following:

(i) Lying down, standing up, or fully extending its limbs.

(ii) Turning around freely.

“Covered animal” means a gestating sow, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen that is kept on a farm.

Exception:  In the case of a gestating sow, the period beginning seven (7) days before the gestating sow’s expected date of giving birth.

This law applies to gestating sows beginning April 1, 2020.

(b)  Tether or confine an egg-laying hen on a farm in either of the following manners:

(i) In an enclosure other than a cage-free housing system.

(ii) With less than the amount of usable floor space per hen as provided in the housing guidelines for cage-free production contained in “Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg-Laying Flocks”, 2017 edition, published by United Egg Producers.

II.  A business owner shall not knowingly engage in the sale of any shell egg in this state that the business owner knows or should know is the product of an egg-laying hen that was confined in a manner that is inconsistent with the requirements of this section.

This law applies to egg-laying hens and shell eggs beginning December 31, 2024.