June 4, 2012
Animal Advocates Applaud New Jersey Senate Committee for Passing Bill to Protect Farm Animals
The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary urge Senate to pass measure prohibiting extreme confinement of pigs.
The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary applaud the New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee for passing S.1921, legislation that would prohibit the inhumane confinement of breeding pigs in crates so small, they prevent the animals from even turning around for nearly their entire lives. The bill, introduced by Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak, D-20, passed by a unanimous vote.
“Gestation crates are an unnecessarily cruel practice in animal agribusiness,” said Lesniak. “It's inhumane and out of step with the values of New Jersey’s citizens.”
“The New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee has sent the message that all animals deserve protection from abuse, including animals raised for food,” said Kathleen Schatzmann, New Jersey state director at The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States is grateful to Sen. Lesniak for his leadership on this important animal protection policy. We urge the New Jersey Senate to move swiftly to pass this bill.”
In the pork industry, most mother pigs are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancy in gestation crates, two feet by seven feet cages roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies, preventing them from even turning around. They are then placed into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate. This happens pregnancy after pregnancy for their entire lives, adding up to years of virtual immobilization.
“At Farm Sanctuary, we know pigs as curious individuals who want to engage with their environment just like we all do,” says Bruce Friedrich, senior director for strategic initiatives at Farm Sanctuary. “Gestation crates cause tremendous psychological and physiological agony for these poor animals. We thank the committee and encourage the full legislature to move quickly to ban this cruel system.”
- Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio and Oregon have passed laws to phase out this intensive confinement system. In addition to New Jersey, bills on this issue are currently pending in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. In Rhode Island, both the Senate and House have passed their respective bills by an overwhelming majority.
The European Union has also passed legislation to outlaw the practice.
- Recently McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Compass Group, Safeway and Kroger publicly committed to getting gestation crates out of their supply chains.
- Smithfield Foods, the nation’s largest pig producer, and Hormel Foods, maker of SPAM, have pledged to end the confinement of sows in gestation crates in their company-owned facilities by 2017; Cargill is already 50 percent gestation crate-free.
- A recent undercover HSUS investigation revealed shocking abuses of breeding sows in gestation crates at Wyoming Premium Farms, a supplier to Tyson Foods.
Anna West, email@example.com, 301-258-1518