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December 7, 2012

New Poll Shows New Hampshire Voters Overwhelmingly Support Bill to Protect Farm Animals by 7-to-1 Margin

Legislation would prohibit the extreme confinement of pigs and calves in small crates

A new statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research reveals New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly support legislation to require breeding pigs and veal calves on factory farms have sufficient space to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. Legislation to prohibit such extreme confinement of breeding pigs and veal calves in small crates will be introduced in New Hampshire during the 2013 session.

The poll found that 73 percent of New Hampshire voters favor the law, while only 10 percent oppose it. Large majorities in all demographic groups and party affiliations support the legislation.

“It’s not surprising that nearly three-quarters of New Hampshire voters want their lawmakers to protect farm animals from inhumane confinement,” said Joanne Bourbeau, northeastern regional director at The HSUS. “It’s wrong to confine breeding pigs and veal calves in small crates where they can’t even turn around for months on end, and New Hampshire citizens stand together in wanting these inhumane practices prohibited in the Granite State.”

Today’s industrialized factory farms use production systems that are out of step with mainstream American values. For example, in the pork industry most breeding pigs are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancy in gestation crates – 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.

Many calves raised for veal suffer nearly their entire lives inside individual crates that, like gestation crates, are so small the animals are unable to even turn around. These calves are often tethered by their necks for most of their four- to five-month lives.

The survey also found that by a more than 3-to-1 margin, voters are more likely to vote for a lawmaker who supports legislation to prohibit veal crates and gestation crates (56 to 17 percent). And by a more than 8-to-1 margin, New Hampshire voters are more likely to switch to purchasing meat from restaurants and farmers who do not use these crates (68 to 8 percent).

The poll of 625 statewide New Hampshire voters was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. from November 27 through November 28, 2012. The margin of error is plus or minus 4%. The full survey results are below:


QUESTION:

Breeding pigs and veal calves on large farms are often kept in two-foot-wide cages known as “gestation crates” and “veal crates,” respectively, where the animals do not have enough room to turn around for nearly their entire lives.  Would you support or oppose a bill that would require breeding pigs and veal calves on farms to have sufficient space to be able to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs? 

   STATE MEN WOMEN DEMS  REPS INDS
SUPPORT 73% 67% 79% 83% 60% 74%
OPPOSE 10% 14% 6% 1% 18% 12%
UNDECIDED 17% 19% 15% 16% 22% 14%


QUESTION:

If the legislature passed a bill allowing breeding pigs and veal calves to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs, would you support or oppose Governor Hassan signing the bill into law?

  STATE MEN WOMEN DEMS REPS INDS
 SUPPORT 71% 62% 79% 84% 59% 69%
 OPPOSE 12% 19% 6% 5% 16% 14%
 UNDECIDED 17% 19% 15% 11% 25% 17%

 

QUESTION:

Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a state legislator who voted for a bill that allows breeding pigs and veal calves to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs?

  STATE MEN WOMEN DEMS REPS INDS
MORE LIKELY 56% 48% 65% 72% 45% 53%
LESS LIKELY 17% 24% 10% 5% 28% 17%
NO EFFECT 19% 19% 19% 17% 22% 18%
NOT SURE 8% 9% 6% 6% 5% 12%


QUESTION:

Would you be more likely or less likely switch to purchasing meat from restaurants or farmers who allow their animals to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs, rather than confine them in crates and cages?

  STATE MEN WOMEN DEMS REPS INDS
MORE LIKELY 68% 55% 82% 85% 64% 60%
LESS LIKELY 8% 11% 4% 1% 12% 9%
NO EFFECT 20% 27% 12% 11% 21% 25%
NOT SURE 4% 7% 2% 3% 3% 6%


Facts:

  • Gestation crates and veal crates are so cruel, nine U.S. states and the European Union have passed legislation to outlaw these types of intensive confinement systems. 
  • Renowned meat industry animal welfare advisor, Temple Grandin, Ph.D., states that gestation crates “are a real problem” and “have to go.”
  • Randy Strauss, CEO of Strauss Veal, the nation’s largest veal producer, calls veal crates “inhumane and archaic” and says they “do nothing more than subject a calf to stress, fear, physical harm and pain.”
  • Since February 2012, major food retailers—including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Kroger, Safeway, Kraft (Oscar Mayer), Target, Heinz, Campbell Soup, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Sonic, Baja Fresh, Kmart, Compass Group, ARAMARK, Sysco, Campbell Soup Company, SUBWAY, Wienerschnitzel, ConAgra Foods and Dunkin’ Brands—have announced that they will eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains.

 

Media Contacts: Anna West, awest@humanesociety.org, 301-258-1518

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