Animal lovers everywhere rejoice! Our yearlong ballot campaigns — to enact the nation’s most comprehensive farmed animal protection law in Massachusetts and to defeat a nefarious law pushed by factory farmers in Oklahoma — just paid off in a big way!
Massachusetts voters struck an enormous victory for farmed animals this Election Day, overwhelmingly approving Question 3, a ballot measure that will outlaw the most extreme forms of animal confinement throughout the Bay State beginning in 2022. Question 3 received a whopping 78 percent of the vote, even after an eccentric oil tycoon and a national pork trade group funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into a deceptive last-minute advertising blitz against it.
Once again, voters have made it abundantly clear that farmed animals deserve basic legal protections from the worst forms of abuse. Massachusetts is now the fifth state to outlaw or phase out battery cages, the ninth state to outlaw veal crates, and the tenth state to outlaw gestation crates. It is now also the second state, after California, to ban not just the production but also the sale of products made using these cruel confinement systems. Soon the roughly 6.75 million hens raised each year to provide Massachusetts with eggs will get a significant upgrade in their living conditions.
As a leading member of the enormous coalition to pass Question 3, Mercy For Animals mobilized our supporters to help gather 170,000 signatures to place the measure on the ballot, and then organized social media, phone-banking, door-knocking, and letter-writing campaigns, putting in overtime to make sure voters knew why to vote yes on Question 3. Today, we celebrate the fruits of that labor.
But that’s not all! We also beat factory farmers on their home turf today when voters in Oklahoma rejected a vague and misleading proposal to add a “right to farm” amendment to the state constitution. Pushed by factory farming interests, State Question 777 was designed to thwart any new regulations of factory farms, including the kind of progress we’re seeing in Massachusetts. Once again, a strong coalition of animal advocates came together with environmentalists, local communities, and other stakeholders to send the message that we need stronger, not weaker, rules for factory farms. In the end, 60 percent of Oklahomans voted against this dangerous measure.
We are so grateful to the thousands of grassroots volunteers in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and the entire country who devoted their time, passion, and energy to winning these historic campaigns. Together, we reached millions of people with a message of compassion for farmed animals and brought thousands more into the dynamic world of animal advocacy. Don’t be surprised if the coalitions — and friendships — that have been forged along the way lead to even bigger things down the road.
Pat yourselves on the back today. We made history!