NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

June 9, 2014

Why we need ban on gestation cages

To the editor:

I support Bill H.1456 — an act to prevent farm animal cruelty. I also purchase produce from our local farms including Colby Farm and will continue to do so.

What started out as a few letters to the editor in support of the bill has turned into a full-out defense of Colby Farm with no mention of the original topic — gestation cages.

I was curious about the original article in The Daily News that stated that Lisa Colby testified before the Connecticut Legislature on the subject against the ban in their state, so I looked it up. This is a quote from her testimony in opposition of Section 2 of Raised Bill No. 5416, March 17, 2014:

“Our sows are presently housed in individual shelters and bedded in straw. 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. While we do not believe we need the entire structure to have gestation stalls, numerous situations over the years have proven that not using gestation stalls has been detrimental to our animal well-being as well as the safety of our employees.”

In her letter to the editor of The Daily News on May 7, Lisa Colby said, “Colby Farm has never and will never use gestation stalls. I considered them in the past, but we are a small farm, and this practice has no place here.”

I believe that people buy from local farms for many reasons. They want to support our local farmers. They want the freshness of just-picked vegetables and newly laid eggs. They also want the meat and poultry that comes to their table to be raised humanely. The bill in the Massachusetts Legislature is to prohibit the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. I don’t see how anyone would want any animal treated this way.

These cages are cruel and inhumane. I hope that the second statement by Lisa Colby is the correct one, but people change their minds all the time. The question came up — why do we need a law against something that isn’t even in use in Massachusetts? The answer is according to the March 17 statement is that without the ban they might be.

Carolyn Casey

Byfield

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