SECTION 1. Chapter 128 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 official edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following new sections:-
Section AA. The Commissioner shall establish a Livestock Care and Standards Board consisting of 11 members, of which the Commissioner, or his designee, shall be a member and chair. Additional members shall include: a representative of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medicine Association, appointed by the Board of Directors of that organization, who is experienced in the care and keeping of livestock; a large animal veterinarian, appointed by the Governor, who is experienced in the care and keeping of livestock,; a representative of the Department of Public Health, assigned by the Commissioner of Public Health, who is knowledgeable in the areas of zoonotic disease and food safety; a representative of a Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; a representative of the Animal Rescue League of Boston; a representative of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation; a representative of the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association; representative of a family farm involved in the raising of poultry, appointed by the Commissioner; and two representatives of a family farms involved in the rearing of cows, swine, goats, sheep and/or horses, appointed by the Commissioner.
Members shall serve a term of three years, and shall remain eligible for reappointment at the end of terms served. The purpose of the Board shall be to advise the Commissioner on appropriate actions to be taken by the Commissioner to help ensure the humane keeping and treatment of livestock, and the viability of farms and related businesses involved in the rearing and keeping of livestock.
Section BB. The Commissioner may promulgate regulations and/or voluntary standards governing the care and well-being of cattle, swine, poultry, and other livestock; provided however that such regulations and standards are approved by a minimum of a two-thirds vote of the Livestock Care Board. Factors to be considered in the promulgation of these standards shall include but not be limited to: the health, safety, comfort of animals; food safety; biosecurity, animal health and public health; and the financial impact/viability of farms and related businesses impacted by said standards.
Section CC. Upon establishment, at the first official meeting thereof, the Commission shall examine practices relating to battery cage hen operations, swine gestation crates and veal crates and determine appropriate actions to undertake. The Commission shall examine whether bans, regulations, guidelines or other measures, if any, are necessary or appropriate relative to such practices within the Commonwealth. Subsequent to addressing these two topics, the Commission shall examine additional practices and topics at the request of any two members. All meeting shall occur in accordance with state open public meeting requirements and efforts shall be made to ensure meetings are held at a variety of geographic locations throughout the state.
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