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News from Massachusetts

FOUR PAWS in the United States is based in Boston, Massachusetts. Centrally located in the heart of a vibrant medical, academic, financial, and social city, our team is able to work for animals both globally and locally.

Farm Animals

Below are updates from the Citizen's for Farm Animal Protection, a coalition in Massachusetts in which FOUR PAWS is a member. The main goal of Question 3 is to establish modest standards in farm animal welfare prioritizing those animals, such as pigs, cows, and chickens that are cruelly and unethically confined for most, and in some cases all, of their lives.


NOVEMBER 4, 2016

Success!! Question 3, the ballot measure to prevent farm animal cruelty, passed with a vote of 78% - perhaps one of the highest percentages for any animal protection ballot measure ever voted on in the U.S. This measure will give breeding pigs, egg-laying hens, and veal calves enough room to turn around and extend their limbs and also establishes that meat and eggs sold in the state meet this modest animal welfare standard. Starting in 2022, the law will mandate all Massachusetts farms and businesses produce and sell eggs only from cage-free hens; pork from pigs not raised in or born of a sow raised in a small crate; and veal from calves not raised in very tight enclosures.


JULY 13, 2016

The latest success was the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth certified the submitted signatures, ensuring that the measure to ban the cruelest methods of confining farm animals will officially appear on the November ballot as Question 3! If voters pass Question 3 on November 8th, this historic measure will be a huge step forward for the calves, hens, and pigs who suffer needlessly every day on factory farms.  


JULY 6, 2016

As a final round to getting a measure put on the 2016 November ballot to end the cruel confinement of veal calves, egg-laying hens, and pigs in Massachusetts (this applies to veal crates, gestation crates, and battery cages for animals based in Massachusetts, along with prohibiting any animal products to be sold in MA from animals raised in these conditions), 40,000 signatures were collected and given to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. In the coming weeks, the Secretary of the Commonwealth will review the submission to see if the necessary number of signatures were collected to qualify for putting the measure on the ballot.


Read more about our coalition work for Massachusetts’s farm animals here.

Companion Animals


Similar to an ordinance that passed in Boston this past spring, the Vice Mayor of Cambridge, Marc McGovern, recently introduced an ordinance to prohibit pet shops in Cambridge from selling puppies, kittens, and rabbits. The proposed ordinance is still under review by the City Council. Ordinances like these aim to reduce the mass breeding and suffering of animals, such as the breeding of dogs at puppy mills.


AUGUST 24, 2016

Success! Massachusetts Governor Baker has taken an important stand today for animals but signing S. 2369, An Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death, into law! This is the first animal bill to reach the Governor's desk since he was elected, so let's hope this positive trend continues! The law will take effect on November 17th and is described in more detail in the July update below.  (Unfortunately, an Act Protecting Abandoned Animals in Vacant Properties and an Act Providing Additional Penalties for the Improper Treatment of Certain Animals did not pass before the formal sessions ended.)


JULY 7, 2016 

This past week, the Massachusetts State Senate passed three animal bills which, if passed in the House, will improve animal protection throughout the state. These bills include: 


-         An Act Protecting Abandoned Animals in Vacant Properties that would require rented or foreclosed properties to be checked for abandoned animals;


-         An Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death that would allow animal control and law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and citizens to remove an animal from a car when conditions are expected to threaten the health of the animal and would strengthen the tethering law, which prohibits tethering dogs for more than 5 hours or during certain hours of the night; and


-         An Act Providing Additional Penalties for the Improper Treatment of Certain Animals that would regulate certain breeders, prevent the sale of puppies and kittens younger than 8 weeks of age, provide a better remedy for families who purchase a sick dog or cat, and would ensure pet shop sources of dogs and cats do not have a direct violation or several indirect violations of the Animal Welfare Act.


The bills have moved on to be discussed in the House of Representatives and must be voted on by the House before the legislative session ends on July 31, 2016. Otherwise the bills will die and have to be refiled in January 2017.

Wild Animals


Pittsfield became the latest MA city to ban the display of wild animals in circuses and traveling shows in the city. Pittsfield joins eight other municipalities (Cambridge, Somerville, Plymouth, Weymouth, Revere, Quincy, Braintree, and Provincetown) in MA that have adopted similar ordinances to ban wild animal displays and end the suffering involved for captive wildlife.