Target: Massachusetts Senator Robert Hedlund
Goal: Improve Massachusetts farm animal welfare and ban cruel battery cages for hens
California is currently the only state to have passed a farm animal cruelty bill, which prevents the use of tiny wire cages called battery cages to store chickens, and will take effect in two years. Massachusetts Senator Robert Hedlund recently introduced a similar piece of leglislation and so far it has the strong support of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the ASPCA, and Farm Sanctuary. This legislation needs to be passed now and deserves our support.
Battery cages measure 18 x 20 inches and 95 percent of egg-producing hens spend their entire lives in them. Birds’ bodies quickly deteriorate when their movement or flight is restricted. It would be the equivalent of a human spending his entire life confined to a small, covered bathtub. Their bones and muscles deteriorate, often until their backs are paralyzed. Their feet are perpetually covered in cuts and sores from standing on the cage wires. The feet of the paralyzed hens can even grow into the wires as they heal. When the hens are finally removed after two years, their bodies are so brittle that many of their bones break as they are literally ripped out. Most of them don’t make it two years.
Contrary to popular belief, chickens outperform dogs, cats and most primates in behavioral complexity. The emotional trauma they endure in these cages is staggering. During confinement many of them actually go insane and cause harm to themselves and others nearby, or simply die of anxiety.
Europe and many other countries have already banned the use of battery cages. Even fast food chains in Europe such as McDonald’s won’t use eggs from caged hens. Whole Foods is currently the only grocery store chain in the U.S. to have banned their sale.
This isn’t just a chance for Massachusetts, this is a chance to influence the nation; the next step in ending farm animal cruelty across the country. If this bill is not passed, it could be a decade before we see more states successfully passing legislation like the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. Please sign the petition below to show your support and ensure this torture stops now.
Dear Senator Hedlund,
You recently introduced the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, making Massachusetts only the second state to propose such legislation. The suffering caged hens are forced to endure is almost unimaginable. They are confined to a space in which they cannot move for two years, leaving their bones weak and broken, bodies paralyzed, and skin growing into the wires of their cages.
Thank you so much for your commitment to saving hens on Massachusetts farms from this kind of torture. Unfortunately, the United States is still catching up to many other countries when it comes to farm animal welfare, but if this legislation is passed it could be the tipping point.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: feryswheel via Flickr