Massachusetts Voters Pass Question 3, Approve Animal Welfare Laws

Boston - Patrick Norton watches Shelby Stevens writes on the Yes on 3 Yearbook at MSPCA Watch Party. - Photo by BU News Service Xue Yujie/ BU News Service
Written by Vaishnavee Sharma

By Vaishnavee Sharma
BU News Service

Thunderous applause gripped the crowd of volunteers and MSPCA members that gathered at the MSPCA Angell Hospital in Jamaica Plain on Tuesday night as Question 3, the Massachusetts Conditions for Farm Animals Initiative, was called as passed with a 77.7 percent majority after 58 percent of votes had been counted.

Paul Shapiro, The Humane Society’s vice president for farm animal protection, called the result a “transformationally formative movement in our society’s progress…for farm animals, other animals and human beings alike.”

In his victory speech, Shapiro told the crowd that they were on “the right side and the winning side of the factory farming debate.”

“Tonight, it’s the animals and not the abusers that declare victory,” Shapiro said.

Diane Sullivan, the spokeswoman for the No on 3 campaign, said she was disappointed but she was appreciative of the support her campaign had received.

“Of course I would’ve loved to have won, but I’m grateful with the support against Question 3 and the people who saw the unintended consequences in it,” Sullivan said. “I’m grateful for representing the voice of low-income consumers who didn’t have a seat on the table in this discussion.”

Question 3’s primary opponent is the chairman of Lucas Oil, Forrest Lucas, who also funds Protect the Harvest, a non-profit created to defend agribusiness against increased food production costs.

Shapiro said that the costs would not increase more than “a penny an egg.”

Primary supporters included The Humane Society and the ASPCA. Political support included that from Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Ed Markey, Attorney General Maura Healey.

John Linehan, president and CEO of Zoo New England, said that the victory indicated that the people of Massachusetts “appreciate and understand other creatures we share the planet with.”

Dorothy Henry, a campaign volunteer who had been knocking on Roxbury’s doors for the cause, said that her 13-year-old Workshire Terrier, Niko, was the “primary reason that motivated me to get involved in animal rights.”

MSPCA President and CEO Carter Luke took the opportunity to joke with the crowd.

“Why did the Chicken cross the road? To get to Massachusetts, where Chickens are safe!” he said.

The law takes effect in 2022.

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