Women Religious Say Vote Yes on Question 3

Women Religious Say Vote Yes on Question 3 |

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The Saint Francis Alliance: Faithful Voices for Animals applauds the public witness of nine Catholic sisters in Massachusetts who are calling for citizens to show compassion for animals and honor the message of Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ by voting YES on Question 3. Saint Francis Alliance urges all citizens in the state to consider their statement carefully and to use their vote to help pass legislation that will outlaw the cruelest forms of confinement of animals raised for food.

The Letter:

We, the undersigned Catholic sisters, urge citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to vote YES on Question 3 on November 8, 2016. Question 3, also known as The Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, calls for an end to the worst abuses of animals raised for food by phasing out extreme methods of farm animal confinement.

The Act would prevent farm animals from being crammed into cages so small they can't even turn around or extend their limbs, and will also ensure that certain food items sold in the Commonwealth are compliant with these modest standards. We support this initiative because it is consistent with Catholic Social Teaching and with our belief in our responsibility to care for God’s creation.

Within days or even hours of birth, calves raised for veal are often chained by their necks in crates too narrow to turn around or lie down comfortably. The crates essentially immobilize these playful, energetic creatures, preventing them from engaging in almost any natural behaviors.

For years, female pigs used for breeding are confined in crates only two feet wide—so small the animals can’t even turn around or take more than a step forward or backward. This extreme immobilization atrophies the pigs’ muscles and bones. Since these inquisitive animals are denied mental stimulation, many become neurotic and exhibit abnormal behaviors, such as repetitive biting of the bars in front of them.

On many egg factory farms, hens are crammed into cages so small the birds can't even spread their wings. Packed five or more to a cage, each hen is forced to spend her whole life in a meager amount of space that’s smaller than an iPad. Virtually unable to move, the hens can't engage in almost any of their natural behaviors, such as perching, nesting, foraging or even walking more than a few steps.

It is inhumane to confine animals in cages so small they can’t turn around or stretch their limbs. Keeping veal calves chained by the neck, pigs in metal cages barely larger than their bodies, and hens in less space than a letter-sized sheet of paper is surely in violation of our duty as stewards to all God’s creation.

This Act embodies the values expressed in this statement from our Bishops:

"Catholic teaching about the stewardship of creation leads us to question certain farming practices, such as the operation of massive confined animal feeding operations. We believe that these operations should be carefully regulated and monitored so that environmental risks are minimized and animals are treated as creatures of God” ("For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food" fourth section: A Catholic Agenda for Action: Pursuing a More Just Agricultural System; subsection V: Stewardship of Creation. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2003 Agricultural Pastoral)

We urge the citizens of Massachusetts, especially those who take seriously their Catholic faith and their responsibility to care for God’s creation, to help end the cruelest forms of confinement of animals raised for food by voting YES on Question 3 this November.

Signed:

Sister Linda Bessom

Sister of Notre Dame de Namur

Lynn, MA

Sister Joanne Dion

Sisters of Saint Anne

Marlborough, MA

Sister Jane E. Feeley

Sisters of Saint Joseph

Boston, MA

Sister Patricia Keefe

Sisters of Saint Joseph

Boston, MA

Sister Madeleine LeBlanc

Medical Missionaries of Mary

Somerville, MA

Sister Anne Marie O'Shea

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Brockton, MA

Sister Josephine Perico

Sisters of Saint Joseph

Boston, MA

Sister Nina Underwood

Medical Missionaries of Mary

Somerville, MA

Sister Ann Whittaker

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Brockton, MA

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