Veterinarians back passage of Question 3

To the editor:

I am writing to join more 450 veterinarians in Massachusetts to urge a 'Yes' vote on Question 3 this November. I have worked for 20 years caring for livestock. The farmers with whom I worked respected and cared their animals.

But this is not the case for animals who are unfortunate enough to be born into the factory farm systems which are now so common in this country. Like dogs and cats, chickens, pigs, and cows feel pain and have the capacity to suffer. Well-documented research shows that they are intelligent, social animals.

When farm animals are forced to spend their lives in cages so small they cannot even stretch their limbs, lie down, or turn around, they fall victim to a wide range of excruciating and chronic medical conditions as well as suffering extreme psychological distress. Broken limbs, respiratory diseases, and painful sores are common. All animals, even those raised for food, should have the freedom to engage in natural and social behaviors.

We would never make our beloved pets spend their entire lives in crates so small they can barely move — farm animals should not be forced to suffer in this way either. We need to make sure that this never happens on our watch.

Jennifer Maas, DVM, MS, Worthington