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October 12, 2009

Mich. Gov. Granholm Signs Historic Farm Animal Welfare Measure

Michigan Humane Society, The HSUS and Farm Sanctuary applaud enactment of compromise bill to improve treatment of animals

The Humane Society of the United States

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a landmark bill today that will, for the first time, extend modest yet meaningful protections to farm animals. A result of extensive negotiations between humane and agricultural groups, the law requires that certain farm animals have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs, rather than being confined in tiny cages.

Animal welfare groups — including the Michigan Humane Society, The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary — applauded Gov. Granholm for signing the bill and lawmakers, agricultural groups, and environmental groups for supporting the measure.

H.B. 5127 phases out veal crates for calves within three years, and battery cages for laying hens and gestation crates for breeding sows within ten years. The state has more than ten million laying hens, approximately 100,000 breeding pigs and is ranked by the Cattleman's Beef Board as a top veal-producing state (no official numbers are available).

Michigan becomes the seventh state to ban gestation crates, the fifth to ban veal crates and the second to ban battery cages. Arizona, California and Florida have passed similar measures through ballot initiatives, and Maine, Colorado and Oregon have passed related laws in their state legislatures.

"All stakeholders realize that we must move in the direction of improved animal welfare standards, and this legislation provides a roadmap to move us in that direction," remarked Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "All animals deserve humane treatment, including those raised for food."

"This law represents modest yet important advancements for farm animals in our state," said Michigan Humane Society President Cal Morgan. "I want to extend my gratitude to Reps. Pamela Byrnes and Mike Simpson for their leadership in bringing the parties together to forge a reasonable compromise."

"Giving animals at least enough room to turn around and extend their limbs is something we can all support," Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, said. "We applaud Governor Granholm for signing this important reform."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org. Follow The HSUS on Twitter.

The Michigan Humane Society (MHS) is Michigan's oldest and largest animal welfare organization, providing animal rescue, cruelty investigation, sheltering and care for over 130 years. MHS care services reach more than 100,000 animals each year. MHS is a leader in promoting humane values and in legislative advocacy for animals in Michigan. Contact MHS at 1-866-MHUMANE or visit michiganhumane.org.

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. Additional information can be found at farmsanctuary.org or by calling 607-583-2225. Follow Farm Sanctuary on Twitter.

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