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What’s the deal with Question 3?

Eggs. It’s what’s on the Nov. 8 ballot. Also bacon and veal.

Animal welfare advocates are aiming to prohibit what they say are the cruelest ways hens, calves, and pigs are raised for food. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the deal with that animal question on the ballot?

Question 3, written by a coalition of animal welfare organizations, would ban the production and sale in the state of eggs from hens and meat from pigs and calves kept in tight enclosures.

That means all eggs sold in Massachusetts would have to be from cage-free hens. Backers, including the Humane Society of the United States, say it is a modest proposal that simply ensures animals can stand up, lie down, turn around, and spread their wings. Opponents say it is sure to sharply raise food prices, which will have an outsized impact on the state’s poorest residents.


Have voters in other states implemented restrictions like that on the welfare of farm animals?

Yes. Several other states have outlawed certain farming practices, but no ballot question has attempted to ban the sale of meat and eggs from animals raised in a certain way, according to specialists in the field.

How much might the price of eggs go up if this passes?

There’s no way to know because it won’t be implemented until 2022. But proponents say to perhaps expect an increase of 1 cent an egg – 12 cents per dozen. Opponents say prices could skyrocket 80 cents or more per dozen.

What do the authors of this question say is wrong with the way most egg-laying hens are currently kept?

They say it’s cruel that most laying hens are housed in cages in which each bird has less space than a piece of printer paper, too tight to spread its wings. The egg industry says the birds are perfectly fine in small cages.