Mass. lawmakers to set new guidelines to avoid egg shortage

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WPRI/AP) — A potential egg shortage in Massachusetts has pushed state lawmakers to implement a new set of standards for the industry, averting projected scarcity in 2022.

Lawmakers agreed to add new standards to a voter-approved animal welfare law that required all eggs and meat farmed and sold in the state to come from livestock that was not confined to tight spaces.

The new standards, which were agreed upon Sunday night, would allow farmers to hold animals in spaces less than 1.5 square feet of space.

New England Brown Egg Council General Manager Bill Bell previously told 12 News that if the state legislature did not make changes to the law, up to 90% of the egg supply in the state would disappear in January 2022.

Since the law was approved by voters in 2016, Bell said the industry standard has changed. Animal welfare groups like the Humane Society of The United States support a new standard that would require 1-square foot per bird in a multi-tier aviary, which would allow hens to move vertically and require less floor space.

The compromise also pushes back the implementation of certain pork product standards until mid-August, giving farmers more time to ensure they’re in compliance.

If lawmakers do not oppose the amendment, it is expected to pass in both the House and Senate on Monday.

Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to sign the amended bill into law once it reaches his desk.

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