Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) young farmers and ranchers (YF&R) committee members brought their livestock to the Boston Common on June 5 to answer legislators’ and consumers’ questions about the care and management of livestock.

During these interactions, farmers and MFBF staff discussed bills of importance that they are supporting this session. Those bills included:

  • HB868 (HD953) – An Act establishing a commission on livestock shelter requirements
    This bill would create a commission comprised of humane organization, veterinarians and farmers, who are charged with developing standards and guidelines for livestock shelter requirements. This has been a confusing and sometimes contentious issue. Shelter needs of livestock depend on the species, age and condition of the animal ad there are no standards to which to refer.
  • The commission would, by consensus, develop a single set of standards for livestock shelter to which farmers, humane organizations and regulators could refer.
  • It is difficult to enforce standards which do not exist. This bill would create the standards necessary to protect livestock.
  • Filed by Representative Schmid, currently in the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

HB203 (HD676) – An Act relative to licensure of equine dentists
HB204 – An Act relative to equine dentistry

  • Equine dentists in Massachusetts and other states have provided basic dental care for horses, often in partnership with veterinarians. However, a provision of Massachusetts law suggests that only veterinarians may perform such work. This is problematic as:
  • There simply aren’t enough veterinarians in the state to provide this service for the approximately 50,000 horse in the Commonwealth.
  • In many cases, veterinarians have less training and experience in equine dentistry than equine dentists.
  • Collectively these two bills would:
  • Establish criteria by which equine dental technicians are determined to be qualified to practice.
  • Clearly identify which practices equine dental technicians may perform, and which must be left to a veterinarian.
  • Both bills filed by Representative Carey, are currently in the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

“Our annual event is always well received by the legislators,” said MFBF YF&R Chair Heidi Cooper. “The farmers who attended helped disperse our message to the crowds in Boston. Through events like this one, we are educating legislators and the public about bills that are critical to maintaining farm profitability in the Commonwealth.”

Ice cream was served during the day, which was donated by Lilac Hedge Creamery and Maple Valley Creamery.

To learn more about MFBF’s policy priorities, please visit: https://www.farmbureau.co/legislative-priority/.