Lawsuit Filed Against Animal Rights Initiative

Lizzy Schultz

Protect-the-harvest Massachusetts farmer James Dunn and local anti-poverty activist Diane Sullivan have joined together in a lawsuit asking Massachusetts courts to toss a proposed 2016 animal rights petition. Proposed Initiative Petition No. 15-11 would create strict new regulations on farmers and place new restrictions on interstate commerce, and experts have warned that the proposed rules will actually harm animals, while driving up the cost of food for Massachusetts families.

Policy directors fear that the proposal will result in several unintended consequences that could impact the more than 450,000 Massachusetts households that currently participate in the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

“Too often, we design and implement policies that have these unintended consequences that play out on the backs of most vulnerable neighbors, particularly low income elders and children,” said Sullivan, who is a SNAP participant herself. “As demonstrated in California, this ballot measure will absolutely cause an across the board increase to the cost of eggs, perhaps the most accessible and affordable source of protein available to us all.”

Researchers at Cornell University released a study showing that Initiative Petition No. 15-11 would drive up the cost of eggs alone by $95 million per year, while increasing the cost of pork by over $200 million. This proposition is similar to California’s Proposition 2, a law passed in 2008 that, upon its implementation in 2015, saw immediate increases in egg prices combined with shortages in eggs and foods made with eggs.

“The sad irony here is that this law will actually harm the welfare of farm animals,” explained James H. Dunn, a family farmer from Wendell, Massachusetts. “This law will require farmers to use housing that is more expensive to build and makes animals more susceptible to injury, disease, and death. The lawyers who wrote this law just don’t know anything about caring for livestock.”

A study by the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply demonstrated that cage-free systems lead to higher instances of bone-breaks, cannibalism, and death in egg-laying hens, as well as endangering the environment and harming worker safety.

“By limiting consumer choice and driving up protein prices, it is hoped by the mega-million dollar animal rights lobby that meatless Monday increasingly becomes meatless everyday by bullying low income powerless consumers out of the market,” said Brian Klippenstein, Executive Director of the Protect The Harvest Action Fund supporting the lawsuit.

The Complaint argues that the initiative petition violates Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution. Under Article 48, initiative petitions must be in proper form for submission to the people and conform with the single subject rule. If found unconstitutional, the initiative will not be placed on the November 2016 ballot.

Ag Group, Animal Activists, Animal Welfare, consumer, Eggs, Farm Policy, Farming, legislation, Livestock, Policy, Protect the Harvest

Comments 18

  1. This is crazy train material. How can you get any more- inhumane than farming as done
    presently. The ag industry is loosing ground and they want to stop humane animal treatment
    where ever it might cost them a dime. TOO BAD

    1. Oh please! If you animal rights fanatics had your way, this nation of HUMANS would starve to death! I support these farmers. It’s about time they fought back!

      1. Well, I support ethical humane farming . I am a 25 year
        vegetarian and I do not support animal abuse in the name of farming. If you don’t
        care that your food lived a life of misery, went to its death screaming, had its throat slit and drip dried
        on a hook- just so
        you get what you need – that’s all good.

        1. Laying hens are not slaughtered. I grew up around a small working farm, and our chickens were free to roam during the day and put in a large caged enclosure to protect them from predators at night. On first hearing about the cages that many hens are now confined to, I too thought that “free range” was the only way to go. After much research, I find that many of the claims of detriment to poultry and human health as well as environmental impacts are true. There is a middle ground which uses larger cages and allows hens to lead a more natural life. Unless everyone decides to keep a few hens for eggs themselves, the real problems of large scale farming need to be addressed. Pooh-poohing them and spouting ideology helps no one- least of all the animals themselves. Your being a vegetarian has nothing to do with the lives of real animals. If putting large numbers of birds together “free range” leads to fights and injury, large scale cannibalism, and disease spread, then you are not helping birds by supporting this.

          1. Sandy Walllis is correct. I also grew up on a farm. We had laying hens. When the hens are free range, they face more hazards, from predators to diseases. The problem is that most urbanites have no experience with poultry, or with other animals and they IMAGINE all sorts of things will work which are unrealistic and inappropriate for real welfare of poultry or any other animal. Having actual experience with critters and with numbers of them makes a huge difference in understanding. Due to this lack of basic understanding, animal rights ideologues have been able to convince good compassionate people of many things about animals which are simply not factual or helpful.

  2. This is crazy train material. How can you get any more- inhumane than farming as done
    presently. The ag industry is loosing ground and they want to stop humane animal treatment
    where ever it might cost them a dime. TOO BAD

    1. Oh please! If you animal rights fanatics had your way, this nation of HUMANS would starve to death! I support these farmers. It’s about time they fought back!

      1. Well, I support ethical humane farming . I am a 25 year
        vegetarian and I do not support animal abuse in the name of farming. If you don’t
        care that your food lived a life of misery, went to its death screaming, had its throat slit and drip dried
        on a hook- just so
        you get what you need – that’s all good.

        1. Laying hens are not slaughtered. I grew up around a small working farm, and our chickens were free to roam during the day and put in a large caged enclosure to protect them from predators at night. On first hearing about the cages that many hens are now confined to, I too thought that “free range” was the only way to go. After much research, I find that many of the claims of detriment to poultry and human health as well as environmental impacts are true. There is a middle ground which uses larger cages and allows hens to lead a more natural life. Unless everyone decides to keep a few hens for eggs themselves, the real problems of large scale farming need to be addressed. Pooh-poohing them and spouting ideology helps no one- least of all the animals themselves. Your being a vegetarian has nothing to do with the lives of real animals. If putting large numbers of birds together “free range” leads to fights and injury, large scale cannibalism, and disease spread, then you are not helping birds by supporting this.

          1. Sandy Walllis is correct. I also grew up on a farm. We had laying hens. When the hens are free range, they face more hazards, from predators to diseases. The problem is that most urbanites have no experience with poultry, or with other animals and they IMAGINE all sorts of things will work which are unrealistic and inappropriate for real welfare of poultry or any other animal. Having actual experience with critters and with numbers of them makes a huge difference in understanding. Due to this lack of basic understanding, animal rights ideologues have been able to convince good compassionate people of many things about animals which are simply not factual or helpful.

  3. This is crazy train material. How can you get any more- inhumane than farming as done
    presently. The ag industry is loosing ground and they want to stop humane animal treatment
    where ever it might cost them a dime. TOO BAD

    1. Oh please! If you animal rights fanatics had your way, this nation of HUMANS would starve to death! I support these farmers. It’s about time they fought back!

      1. Well, I support ethical humane farming . I am a 25 year
        vegetarian and I do not support animal abuse in the name of farming. If you don’t
        care that your food lived a life of misery, went to its death screaming, had its throat slit and drip dried
        on a hook- just so
        you get what you need – that’s all good.

        1. Laying hens are not slaughtered. I grew up around a small working farm, and our chickens were free to roam during the day and put in a large caged enclosure to protect them from predators at night. On first hearing about the cages that many hens are now confined to, I too thought that “free range” was the only way to go. After much research, I find that many of the claims of detriment to poultry and human health as well as environmental impacts are true. There is a middle ground which uses larger cages and allows hens to lead a more natural life. Unless everyone decides to keep a few hens for eggs themselves, the real problems of large scale farming need to be addressed. Pooh-poohing them and spouting ideology helps no one- least of all the animals themselves. Your being a vegetarian has nothing to do with the lives of real animals. If putting large numbers of birds together “free range” leads to fights and injury, large scale cannibalism, and disease spread, then you are not helping birds by supporting this.

          1. Sandy Walllis is correct. I also grew up on a farm. We had laying hens. When the hens are free range, they face more hazards, from predators to diseases. The problem is that most urbanites have no experience with poultry, or with other animals and they IMAGINE all sorts of things will work which are unrealistic and inappropriate for real welfare of poultry or any other animal. Having actual experience with critters and with numbers of them makes a huge difference in understanding. Due to this lack of basic understanding, animal rights ideologues have been able to convince good compassionate people of many things about animals which are simply not factual or helpful.

  4. As Dr. Temple Grandin stated: Most urbanites know little about food production, she says. They pick up their meat neatly sliced and packaged at the grocery store, or use an app to have fully prepared meals land on their doorstep within minutes.
    This lack of knowledge, she says, is exploited by all those who have a stake in telling people how to eat – producers, companies and activists alike. And instead of getting their information from credible sources, people increasingly make snap judgments based on information from the Internet, images from social media – and their emotions. end quote. IMO Dr. Grandin is correct. The public has been propagandized about farming for the last 30 plus years and now THINK they know enough to tell farmers how to raise animals. Problem is, they don’t know.

  5. As Dr. Temple Grandin stated: Most urbanites know little about food production, she says. They pick up their meat neatly sliced and packaged at the grocery store, or use an app to have fully prepared meals land on their doorstep within minutes.
    This lack of knowledge, she says, is exploited by all those who have a stake in telling people how to eat – producers, companies and activists alike. And instead of getting their information from credible sources, people increasingly make snap judgments based on information from the Internet, images from social media – and their emotions. end quote. IMO Dr. Grandin is correct. The public has been propagandized about farming for the last 30 plus years and now THINK they know enough to tell farmers how to raise animals. Problem is, they don’t know.

  6. As Dr. Temple Grandin stated: Most urbanites know little about food production, she says. They pick up their meat neatly sliced and packaged at the grocery store, or use an app to have fully prepared meals land on their doorstep within minutes.
    This lack of knowledge, she says, is exploited by all those who have a stake in telling people how to eat – producers, companies and activists alike. And instead of getting their information from credible sources, people increasingly make snap judgments based on information from the Internet, images from social media – and their emotions. end quote. IMO Dr. Grandin is correct. The public has been propagandized about farming for the last 30 plus years and now THINK they know enough to tell farmers how to raise animals. Problem is, they don’t know.

Comments are closed.