NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

June 5, 2014

Ban inhumane confinement of animals

To the editor:

I agree with Donna Bartlett (May 20, letter to the editor) that our community is fortunate to have Colby Farm and that its current model meets the standards of what is regarded as humane treatment of farm animals. So I was disappointed to learn of the written testimony that Lisa Colby submitted to the Connecticut legislature on March 17 against farm animal protection legislation in that state. She testified:

“Our hope is to construct a new facility in the future. Freedom to operate is of extreme importance to Colby Farm and its ability to continue in the hog business. It is our desire to operate a portion of the structure similar to our current system as well as install several gestation stalls in the new facility.”

Her full testimony can be found at: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2014/ENVdata/Tmy/2014HB-05416-R000317-Lisa%20D.%20Colby,%20Colby%20Farm-TMY.PDF.

If Lisa Colby has since abandoned her plan for gestation crates, that’s wonderful. But the welfare of farm animals must not be dependent upon a farmer’s whim. To ensure the welfare of farm animals living on farms throughout Massachusetts, I urge legislators to pass H.1456/S.741 — banning the use of cruel and inhumane confinements that include gestation crates for pregnant sows, battery cages for egg-laying hens (which are already in use in the western part of our state) and veal crates for young calves.

This humane legislation is not intended to put Colby Farm or any family farm out of business. Rather, it is intended to ensure the welfare of the animals in their care and to keep “factory farming” methods out of Massachusetts. Rather than deride this humane legislation and those advocating for it, Colby Farm should support H.1456/S.741 and be a model for what is regarded as humane farming. Colby may even see an increase in business from customers wishing to patronize farms that have committed to never introducing inhumane farm animal confinements.

Kathleen Downey

Byfield

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