BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill on Thursday that will reverse provisions of a referendum regarding the welfare of egg-laying hens.
The bill is designed to create a more secure egg supply chain, raise the state’s animal welfare standards and mirror stronger national United Egg Producers cage-free guidelines.
In 2016, voters approved a referendum through a ballot question that required egg producers in Massachusetts to provide 1.5 square feet of space for egg-laying hens.
However this new legislation reduce the regulation down to one square foot instead. This would make Massachusetts the first state to go backwards in humane legislation.
The referendum was supposed to go into effect next year but pressure from egg producers outside of the state has caused it to be delayed.
Those who support the bill say those guidelines have been adopted by leading retailers, producer and other states. Democratic Senate President Karen Spilka said the bill will upgrade Massachusetts’ egg production law by creating predictability and certainty.
The bill is now headed to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
WBZ NewsRadio's Art Cohen reports: