The Humane Society of the United States has introduced a ballot measure in Massachusetts to ban the sale of pork and eggs produced from modern facilities. This doesn’t bode well for both farmers and consumers. Here’s what you need to know.
Last week, I wrote about how a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) veterinarian was appointed to serve on USDA’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health. This week, HSUS is up to trouble — this time picking on poultry and hog farmers. If HSUS has its way, pork and eggs will be banned from grocery stores in Massachusetts by 2020.
According to HumaneWatch.org — a watch dog group that follows the spending activities of the people behind HSUS — the animal rights organization recently announced a Massachusetts ballot measure that would ban the sale of all pork and egg products that come from farms using modern animal housing systems.
Poised as a measure to protect public health and animal welfare, HumaneWatch calls the groups’ claims of health and welfare “hogwash,” particularly since hen cages and hog maternity pens are designed to ensure animal welfare.
In a recent release from HumaneWatch, “The measure is really just another attempt to pull apart animal agriculture by driving up the costs for farmers and non-vegans. Unlike other HSUS initiatives, however, this one doesn’t just restrict farms operating within the state from using these practices, it bans the sale of pork and egg products from these facilities regardless of where those farms are located. The proposed measure surely violates our Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause. If the measure passes, Massachusetts will be telling every other state that sells chicken, veal, or pork to the Bay State how to house their animals.”
If passed, HumaneWatch predicts that this overreaching bill will certainly be challenged in a court of law, as the “food safety” and “animal welfare” claims the measure is proposing are fake and illogical, especially since the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply published a 2015 study that debunks HSUS’ false food safety claims.
For example, cage-free systems might offer more space for the birds, but they also result in more manure on the eggs in an open floor system, whereas, with cages, the manure falls below onto a belt where it is swept away.
We’ve seen the results of an egg measure (AB 1437) passed in California, which quickly escalated egg prices up to 66% higher than other Western states as a result of too many restrictions and regulations imposed on egg farmers in the state.
HSUS is a pro at introducing ballot initiatives in states in order to set precedence for other states to follow. Agriculturalists in Massachusetts better pony up for a battle. Once the measure receives 90,000 signatures (which I doubt HSUS will have any problem obtaining, given its ability to rally celebrities, get cheap headlines in the press and bribe for signatures), the measure will be on the ballot in 2016.
Perhaps HumaneWatch says it best when the organization writes, “Massachusetts measure shows that HSUS is willing to spend millions to make sure that affordable animal protein is taken away from consumers.”
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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