Local farms impacted by new law to change animal confinement

A farm in Wendell will have to make some adjustments after voters said yes to Question 3

WENDELL, Mass. (WWLP) – On Tuesday, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a new law banning farmers from restrictively confining hens, pigs, and calves; 78% of voters said ‘Yes.’

“I’m definitely happy about it. We have got to have the best for what we eat and we need a better circumstance for what’s its under,” said Joey Thomas of Shelburne.

The animals will now have to enough space to stand up, lie down, and fully extend its limbs. Food products also cannot be sold from animals confined this way. The new law affects farms in Massachusetts, including the Diemond Farm in Wendell, which has been around for 80 years. This farm, along with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau opposed question 3.

Diemand Farm was prepared for a yes vote and will change with the law. “We will have to work to accommodate the new requirement to enlarge the cages or go with a cage-free system entirely,” said Brian Bailey of Diemand Farm in Wendell.

Bailey said they’ve kept their chickens in cages for efficiency and sanitary reasons, and to protect them from hurting each other. The bill doesn’t restrict chickens from being put in cages, but requires a minimum space for them to stand freely. Bailey said their cages were a couple inches short of the new standard.

He added that he expects production of eggs to drop significantly because of the new law. It’s expected to go into effect in 2022.