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Question 3 opponent receives $120,000 donation

Indiana oil tycoon Forrest Lucas has given large sums of money to Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice, a group that opposes Question 3 on the ballot. PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Indiana oil tycoon Forrest Lucas has given large sums of money to Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice, a group that opposes Question 3 on the ballot. PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Forrest Lucas, an Indiana oil tycoon and founder of Lucas Oil Products, Inc., recently donated $120,000 to a committee dedicated to opposing Massachusetts Ballot Question 3, according to the finance reports filed last Friday with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Public Finance.

Question 3, if passed, would prevent the sale of eggs, veal and pork from forcefully confined farm animals, according to the initiative petition filed with Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice, which is a committee of agricultural organizations, is the main opponent to Question 3.

Diane Sullivan, the campaign manager of Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice, explained that the committee believes cage-free animals would drive the price of certain foods so high that underprivileged people would be unable to afford eggs and meat.

“I see Question 3 as a social injustice that will cause harm and victimize low and middle income families here in Massachusetts by raising the cost of certain basic foods, and by creating a 250-million-dollar regressive food tax here in the state,” Sullivan said.

Thomas Bean, a Boston lawyer who filed the initiative petition, Question 3, declined to comment on Lucas’ donation to the group opposing his initiative petition.

Many voters are unaware of the economic impacts of Question 3, according to Sullivan.

“Massachusetts voters deserve to know what these unintended consequences of Question 3 are,” Sullivan said. “It doesn’t get into what the economic impact of that would be.”

For this reason, Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice has focused more on spreading information about Question 3 to voters than they have on fundraising.

“Right now I’m spending the majority of my days reaching out to fellow voters through attending community events where the ballot questions are up for discussion,” Sullivan said. “[I’m] certainly taking advantage of any earned media that I can to spread why I’m opposing Question 3.”

Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice currently has minimal funding, working with approximately 20 percent of what its opposition has raised, according to Sullivan. Their financial backing solely came solely from Lucas’s donation.

Sullivan expressed gratitude toward Lucas on behalf of her committee.

“What he’s doing, which I’m incredibly grateful for, is allowing me and helping me to give voice to those who are victims in this type of policy debate,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan also said she respects Lucas’s personal knowledge of both poverty and caring for farm animals.

“Mr. Lucas actually grew up poor on a ranch, so he knows what the struggle is like. He certainly knows how to care for animals,” Sullivan said. “He’s looking long-term at a growing population and the challenge of feeding ourselves, particularly while so many are already struggling to feed themselves.”

YES! on 3 and The Humane Society of the United States could not be reached for comment.

Several Boston residents expressed different views about Question 3 and Lucas’s sizeable donation.

Andre Miller, 32, of Allston, said he supports the passing of Question 3 and doesn’t believe Lucas should have donated so much money to Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice.

“Animal rights are very important to me, and even if it means that we pay a little more for our food, I think it’s worth it,” Miller said.

Magda Aguilar, 69, of Allston, said she would rather see farm animals be treated with less cruelty and pay more for her groceries than save money while animals are subjected to inhumane treatment.

“This is bad,” Aguilar said of the opposition to Question 3. “It’s worth it for the price of eggs to go up if it means that animals get to roam free.”

On the other hand, Jason Friedman, 26, of Brighton, said he supports Lucas’s decision to donate to a cause he believes in, especially if it means making certain foods more affordable.

“I would have to agree with him,” Friedman said. “Otherwise, poor people would not be able to buy their food, and that’s really what’s most important.” 

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  1. Richard Bourgault

    How can anyone be for question 3? Don’t you do your research? There are NO farms in Massachusetts useing any of the things the bill has a problem with. I have asked proponents to take me to one farm where any of these practices are used, so far no takers. All of the information distributed by the people for question 3 is a lie, None of the photos the show were taken in Mass. I call that very deceitful. This is very bad bill and Mass raised animals are well cared for. I would be happy to take anyone who doubts this to take a ride with me to any farm in Msss and see for yourself.

  2. The proponents of this Ballot question are deceiving voters. This is not just about the price of a dozen eggs and humane treatment of animals. There are no factory farms in MA; the cage free eggs seen in grocery stores cost more and are actually more inhumane and less cleanly than conventional eggs! It is the corporate producers that want people to believe that “cage free” is good means they are “home home on the range” the hens are not. Instead thousand of hens are living in overcrowded factory style buildings, they do not go outdoors. Chickens are notoriously vicious in trying to maintain a pecking order; they will fight the death and are cannibalistic. To add to that, thousands of hens defecate everywhere including in their feed and water, and they kick up huge amounts of contaminated dust that they are breathing and that settles on them, their food, and their eggs. Caged hens kept humanely can be kept cleaner, fight far less, there is less death, and the eggs are not laid on manure covered floors! The eggs are more expensive as the death toll is higher in these cage free systems and the hens are far less healthy. Farmers like healthy hens, but most of all they like LIVE hens! So,. by voting this ballot question in, one is actually supporting more inhumane treatment of hens and supporting corporate agriculture, who already have a huge market share and will only get more if this thing passes.

    Now the cost may not be a problem for a lot of folks, but for for many the increase is a burden for the poor as well as non-profits that aid the poor, elderly, and homeless. Remember, that will be across the board through the entire food system as eggs are ingredients as well as for breakfast! Restaurants and institutions, even BU will need to source these cage free eggs from out of state, that’s where most of our eggs come from anyway. But, it is an unfair burden on too many and right now we have a choice to purchase food items according to our own budgets and conscience. There are also plenty of regulations in place that oversee animal welfare. Do not be fooled, do not support corporate agriculture, and if you care about those less fortunate, you would not vote for this! Vote No on Question 3 and a big thanks to Diane Sullivan for her hard work and to Lucas Oil for supporting her!

  3. Quote from Temple Grandin: “This lack of knowledge, she says, is exploited by all those who have a stake in telling people how to eat – producers, companies and activists alike. And instead of getting their information from credible sources, people increasingly make snap judgments based on information from the Internet, images from social media – and their emotions.” Consumers are being exploited by the huge political machine HSUS, which is not associated w/ local humane societies or other real rescue groups and only contributes 1% of their multi million dollar machine toward actually rescuing animals

  4. To name one inside Massachusetts, Diemand Farm in Wendell is affected by this.
    Outside Massachusetts, many farms will be affected by this. Mistreating animals outside the state lines, does not make it better. We cannot legislate the laws of other states, but we can certainly refuse their product.

    Show me where on this question does it require cage-free farming?

    I have read, the actual cost per egg will be about 1/4 of a cent, when suppliers actually hit the deadline to comply in a couple few years. Nothing prevents suppliers from taking the opportunity to raise prices considerably more.

  5. A little perspective into this donor:

    From Wikipedia:
    In October 2014, Lucas Oil co-founder and executive vice president Charlotte Lucas posted to her Facebook page: “I’m sick and tired of minorities running our country! As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think that atheists (minority), muslims [sic] (minority) nor any other minority group has the right to tell the majority of the people in the United States what they can and cannot do here. Is everyone so scared that they can’t fight back for what is right or wrong with his country?”
    “Forrest Lucas, co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil and an outspoken opponent of animal rights, is a leading contender for Interior secretary should Donald Trump win the White House, say two sources familiar with the campaign’s deliberations. ”

    Trump supporter, oil tycoon, bigot, huge outside-Mass. interest. No thanks.