Massachusetts lawmakers consider changing animal welfare law to avoid egg shortage – NBC Boston

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Massachusetts lawmakers are considering changes to a 2016 animal welfare law that sets living standards for laying hens and some farm animals to avert a possible egg shortage.

The electoral law sets standards on the space needed to keep pigs, calves and laying hens. For hens, enough space is needed for the birds to be able to “fully spread both wings without touching the side of a pen or other laying hens and have access to at least 1.5 square feet usable floor space per hen”.

The House gave initial approval on Tuesday to a revamped bill that would allow one square foot of space per bird in aviaries that allow “unimpeded access to vertical space.” The House is rewriting legislation, backed by both farmers and animal welfare advocates, that already passed the Senate this summer.

As it stands, the law is expected to take effect on January 1, 2022. The House could vote on Wednesday to pass the amended version of the Senate-approved bill. The branches should then agree on a consensus bill to send to Governor Charlie Baker.

During debate on his bill in June, Senator Jason Lewis said standards and practices for laying hens have evolved since voters approved new rules for farms that produce eggs, pork and beef. calf.

Many egg farmers now use vertical aviaries — instead of horizontal aviaries, with the birds all enclosed on one level — which provide hens with room to fly up, roost and roost, a-t -he declares.

“If we don’t act, there will be very few egg farmers who actually meet the standard set in the ballot question, and that’s not enough egg farmers to meet the demand here. in the Commonwealth – actually far from it,” Lewis said in June.

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