It’s Up to Lawmakers to Save New Jersey’s Gestation Crate Ban

Animal welfare organizations are joining forces to urge New Jersey lawmakers to override a veto of a bill that would improve the living conditions for pregnant pigs in the state.

Earlier this spring, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly with bipartisan support to pass a bill that would have made it an act of animal cruelty to house pregnant sows in gestation crates, or “in a manner that prevents the animal from being able to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, or fully extend its limbs.”

Millions of sows in the U.S. are currently kept in what are commonly known as gestation crates, or sow stalls, for most of their lives while they go through the process of being repeatedly impregnated. After they give birth, they’re moved to farrowing crates where they’re separated from their babies by bars. This type of intensive confinement is considered to be one of the worst forms of cruelty inflicted on animals in modern day farming.

For pigs, there’s no shortage of evidence to suggest that they are incredibly intelligent, social and sensitive animals with cognitive abilities that can potentially surpass those of three-year-old humans. When provided with a natural environment, they are are devoted, protective and nurturing mothers. Scientific studies have also shown that confining them in this manner, thereby taking away their ability to engage in any type of natural behaviors and leaving them with no enrichment, causes both physical and psychological disorders. Unfortunately, producers continue to defend this system because it saves space and keeps costs down.

Despite support from animal advocacy groups, 100 state veterinarians, many lawmakers and 91 percent of New Jersey voters, Governor Christie vetoed the bill earlier this summer and said in his statement that it was the responsibility of New Jersey’s Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture to establish “the proper balancing of humane treatment of gestating pigs with the interests of farmers whose livelihood depends on their ability to properly manage their livestock.”

Now a coalition of state and national animal welfare organizations are pushing back and continuing the fight to help pigs by urging lawmakers to finish the job they started by overriding the veto, something that’s never been done in the state. They’ll need a two-thirds majority vote to successfully pull it off, according to the Star Ledger. The HSUS is sponsoring an ad campaign that will be airing on television to raise awareness among residents.

“It’s simply unacceptable to confine pregnant pigs so tightly that they can’t even turn around, and we look forward to working with all of the compassionate New Jersey legislators who voted to outlaw the practice the first time to see their will, and the will of New Jersey voters, realized,” said Bruce Friedrich, senior advocacy director for Farm Sanctuary, in a statement.

Nine states have already successfully passed legislation banning gestation crates, and a number of major food companies are working towards phasing them out of their supply chains. Continued consumer support for ending the use of gestation crates can help keep the momentum going.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

208 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Joan B.
Joan B3 years ago

Whenever a state has a Republican Governor, you can be sure that animal welfare laws will be obliterated from the books. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie's civil treatment of President Obama after Hurricane Sandy made him a hero because Congress and other Republicans had been (and still are) played partisan politics to the detriment of the public - including holding back relief for Sandy victims for three months during the winter season. So, he was seen as fair and likable and as a result he will be re-elected. Bad news for animals, seniors, the working poor, and all low income people - he is still a very conservative Republican and that means no help for any of those groups, esp. animals.

Kate S.
Kate S3 years ago

IT'S ABOUT TIME...HOPEFULLY THIS ATTEMPT WILL NOT STOP IN NJ!

Angela l.
Angela L3 years ago

Agree with you, Christine F. I'm so much happier and healthier to be vegetarian and almost vegan. If only humans put themselves in a crate without space to move or scratch, or being tortured by an electric rod or pulled them by the ear and so forth, they might learn the pain. Humans are selfish, arrogance and actually evil from the beginning or they will have sympathy once they hear the screaming pain from animals or other beings, not having to see blood. If the human population is not over 7 billions, animals don't have to suffer so much, the more meat eaters on the planet, the more animals suffer!!!!!!!!! The higher the human population, the less space for animals, and yet humans won't give up meat and expect "humane" farming. The problem starts from each individual.

Christine Franks
Christine Franks3 years ago

What has happened to this world? I am beyond disgusted! So glad to be a vegetarian!!! Very proud of that!! I would to see these so-called humans crammed in a crate and not able to move! Bastards!!

Christine Franks
Christine Franks3 years ago

I am disgusted to be part of this sick cruel world!!!! More glad than ever to be vegetarian!!!!! What has happened to people?!!!

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D3 years ago

Treat every living thing the way we want to betreated...some people seem to have forgotten the golden rule, or won't extend it to include animals.

Lynn S.
Lynn S3 years ago

THIS IS JUST SHAMEFUL! No animal should be confined in this horrific way! NO EXCUSE!

B J.
BJ J3 years ago

It doesn't cost anything to be humane.