Bill would secure egg supply, upgrade conditions for hens
BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has approved legislation designed to create a more secure egg supply chain and raise the state’s farm animal welfare standards to be on a par with other states.
The bill would upgrade Massachusetts’ egg production law — created by a successful 2016 ballot question — to create predictability and certainty by mirroring even stronger national United Egg Producers cage-free guidelines. Supporters of the bill say those guidelines have been adopted by leading retailers, producers, and other states.
Massachusetts voters in 2016 overwhelmingly passed what at the time was the strongest law for farm animals in U.S. history, known as Question 3.
Since then, retailers, producers, and other states mandated even stronger standards in the shift to cage-free conditions for hens. The legislation passed by the Senate on Thursday updates existing state law to meet the new standards. The bill has the backing of the animal welfare groups that supported the 2016 ballot question.
“With this bill, Massachusetts would join leading retailers, producers and other states in taking action to prevent cruelty to farm animals,” Democratic Senate President Karen Spilka said in statement. “Upgrading conditions for egg-laying hens will keep our farms in line with cage-free standards and ensure the stability of Massachusetts’ egg supply.”
The bill now heads to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.