Actor and Massachusetts native Casey Affleck was at the State House Tuesday to push for passage of legislation that will ban cruel “factory farming” practices, and also took a moment to comment on the Boston bombings, which he described as a sad and unsettling tragedy that will have a lasting impact on Boston.
Affleck met one-on-one with lawmakers in advance of Lobby Day for Animals to urge passage of the bill, which focuses on the forced confinement of pigs and cows in gestation crates.
The bill would ban three different confinement systems for certain farm animals in Massachusetts, systems that the actor described as "very, very restrictive."
"They're abusive," he said. "These animals live in terrible conditions all of their lives. They're not allowed to turn or move around in anyway. No one wants to see animals this way. You wouldn't treat your dog or cat that way, and there's no reason we should treat farm animals this way."
Last year saw the passage of comprehensive animal protection laws that established a state-wide homeless animal spay and neuter fund; included the ability to add family pets in domestic violence restraining orders; eliminated breed specific discrimination of dogs and expanded regulations to protect animals from antifreeze poisoning. The MSPCA helped draft much of the legislation, and according to a spokesman, hopes to capitalize on its momentum in 2013.
"This is my home state and it's important to me that we make sure these kinds of systems aren't used in the state," said Affleck, adding that the issue of animal cruelty is of personal interest to him. "There are a lot of things going on in the world right now, and I can understand why for some people animal rights and animal welfare issues aren't dead center on the radar, but I think it's a part of the culture of violence. The way that we treat animals bleeds over into the way we treat friends, family, other human beings," he said. "It's an emotional issue, it's a moral issue, and it's one that I care about."
When asked for his reaction to last week's Boston Marathon terror attack, the Cambridge native said that like much of the nation, he is baffled by the attack.
"When something like this happens I think it's very unsettling for people because there is no real, immediately apparent reason. No one can understand why it happened, and what has happened, and what is the magnitude of it," said Affleck, who attended the same Cambridge high school as 19-year-old bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. "It sort of sends people into a tale spin of not feeling totally safe where they live. It's a very sad situation... I think it will have longer lasting effects for the city."