SJC hears challenge to ballot question on animal treatment

SJC Chief Justice questioned whether it would be unfair to Massachusetts farmers

BOSTON (AP) — The highest court in Massachusetts has heard a challenge to a proposed November ballot question that would prohibit the sale of eggs and other food products from farms that keep animals in overly restrictive cages.

The Supreme Judicial Court did not immediately rule Wednesday on the motion filed by two citizens. The initiative petition is backed by animal welfare groups including The Humane Society.

The plaintiffs argued that the ballot question should be disallowed because it contains unrelated provisions about the housing of farm animals and retail sales of food.

But SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants questioned whether it would be unfair to make Massachusetts farmers follow rules regarding the treatment of animals but to allow retailers to sell products from out-of-state farms without such rules.


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