Animal Activist Group Sues MA Attorney General

January 21, 2021

In 2006, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative that requires 1.5 square feet per hen of floor space, regardless of the housing system. The law also impacts space requirements for veal calves and breeding pigs. Other states have since passed laws that adhere to the UEP Certified standards, which require 1.0 (vs. 1.5) square feet per hen in aviary systems. The Massachusetts law states the 1.5 square feet per hen and other housing requirements will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

Recognizing the likely disruption in the egg supply this discrepancy will create, for over two years efforts have been made to adjust the space requirements from 1.5 to 1.0, but these have yet to be implemented. Included in the law is the requirement the Attorney General “shall promulgate rules and regulations for the implementation of this Act on or before January 1, 2020.” To date, these rules have not been released. UEP has joined local groups in Massachusetts to advocate to the legislature to act on a measure, which is agreed to by all stakeholders, to correct the language.

A California-based animal activist group, Humane Farming Association (HFA), has sued the Massachusetts Attorney General in an effort to force these rules. In their filed complaint, HFA states that on December 30, 2019, the Attorney General issued a notice requesting the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources (MDAR) be responsible to promulgate the rules and regulations. The HFA suit takes issue with both the fact that the rules are not released and that it has been turned over to MDAR.

See also “State urged to modify rules on chicken cages,” from the Gloucester Daily Times.