Unless the Massachusetts legislature acts in the next two weeks, a new state regulation will go into effect in January. Many farmers are warning it could lead to an egg shortage in Massachusetts. David Radlo, former president of the New England Brown Egg Council and Emma Platoff, Boston Globe politics and government reporter, joined Sue O’Connell on Greater Boston to discuss.
The regulations stems from a 2016 ballot initiative which required that all eggs must come from hens that have at least 1.5 square feet of space to avoid needless suffering.
“This is actually an issue that everyone appears to agree on,” Platoff said. “The egg industry, many animal welfare groups including the Humane Society of the United States, the Massachusetts House and the Massachusetts Senate, all support a 1.0 square foot standard for hens as long as there’s room for vertical motion.”
She explained that the real holdup between the House and Senate is around another animal — when standards for pork should go into effect.
“It’s not unusual that we see this from the Mass. legislature,” she said. “We know that deadlines sometimes come and go without the work getting done in time.”
Radlo lamented the potential impact on consumers, especially people in low-income communities who may have to travel farther to buy eggs, a low-cost source of protein.
“It’s not a question of will there be disruption, but just how much disruption. That’s the question right now,” he said.
WATCH: Massachusetts could see egg shortage in the new year