JP Pets: Check-in with MSPCA-Angell

A picture of a couple of cats from a home on the South Shore that are available for adoption at the MSPCA-Angell. Courtesy Photo by MSPCA-Angell

A picture of a couple of cats from a home on the South Shore that are available for adoption at the MSPCA-Angell.
Courtesy Photo by MSPCA-Angell

MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center is working hard on a ballot initiative that will increase protection for farm animals.

“We are working very hard on a ballot initiative that would require that animals that result in egg or meat products in Massachusetts must be able to stand up, turn around, and fully extend their limbs,” said Rob Halpin, spokesperson of MSPCA-Angell, in a phone interview with the Gazette.

The initiative would include egg-laying hens, veal calves, and pigs.

MSPCA-Angell joins a coalition other organizations on the initiative campaign, which is called “Citizens For Farm Animals.” They are actively raising signatures to put the measure on the November 2016 ballot. The campaign is seeking an additional 50,000 signatures in addition to the 130,000 that they’ve already secured from registered Massachusetts voters.

According to Halpin, Diemand Farm in Wendell is the only factory farm in Massachusetts, but there would be significant consequences should the ballot be passed.

“We heard continuously from friends on Beacon Hill that we only have one farm that does this factory farming,” said Halpin. “But we do need [this initiative passed], because the vast majority of these products come from outside of Massachusetts.”

The initiative would ensure that whole shelled eggs, whole cuts of pork, and whole cuts of veal sold in grocery stores would come from farms that meet these standards that allow animals basic freedoms.

“If this was passed, it would significantly reduce suffering from millions and millions of farm animals every year,” said Halpin.

In addition to the political activism, Halpin encouraged residents to visit the MSPCA-Angell to visit and adopt animals, noting that June is “kitten season.” That means that the shelter has many kittens and cats available for adoption at this time of the year.

“We are very lucky to be at a stage where we don’t need to euthanize animals for space anymore,” Halpin said.

Ninety percent of the MSPCA-Angell’s animals go to a new home. Although the MSPCA has met the “no-kill shelter” threshold, they will never become an official no-kill shelter, according to Halpin.

“Our philosophy is that sometimes it is more humane to end an animal’s life than to cause it to suffer for a long period of time,” Halpin said.

However, he says that the shelter uses its donor support and goodwill and staff expertise to significantly reduce suffering in animals and to find new homes for them.

The shelter recently received 27 cats surrendered from a house on the South Shore last week, and are hoping that all of these cats will be adopted into new homes this summer. All animals adopted from the MSPCA are spayed or neutered, microchipped, and have updated immunizations.

For more information about the initiative for farm animals, visit For more information about the MSPCA-Angell, visit

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