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February 4, 2013

N.J. TV Ads Call for End to Inhumane Gestation Crate Confinement of Pigs

The HSUS Places Ads in Support of Pending Farm Animal Protection Legislation

New Jersey TV viewers will be seeing television advertisements showing images of the inhumane confinement conditions that breeding pigs endure inside factory farms. The Humane Society of the United States placed the ads to highlight the need for lawmakers to pass   bills requiring that breeding pigs have enough space to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs.

The TV ad can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flyv0b_T0VM.

The commercials, which began airing on Sunday, Feb. 3 on broadcast and cable in the Trenton and Philadelphia markets, reveal footage of pigs in gestation crates—cages used by most of the pork industry to virtually immobilize breeding pigs for most of their lives. Assembly Bill 3250 and Senate Bill 1921 would phase out these inhumane confinement systems. The legislation has passed the state Senate, and is now pending in the Assembly.

“These new commercials shine a spotlight on inhumane treatment of animals that New Jersey citizens deeply oppose,” said Kathy Schatzmann, New Jersey state director for The HSUS. “It is clearly wrong to immobilize animals for their entire lives and legislators can support the values of their constituents by voting for A.3250 and S.1921.”

The N.J. Senate passed S. 1921, which was introduced by Sen. Raymond Lesniak, with an overwhelming majority of 35-1 this past summer. Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” L. Wilson, D-Camden and Gloucester, and Assemblywoman Marlene Caride, D-Bergen and Passaic, introduced A. 3250.

In January, a coalition of New Jersey veterinarians joined the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association in support of S.1921/A.3250. A recent statewide survey revealed that 91 percent of New Jersey voters support S.1921/A.3250 while only 4 percent oppose it.

In the pork industry, most breeding pigs are confined day and night in gestation crates during their four-month pregnancy. These cages are roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies and designed to prevent them from even turning around. The animals are subsequently transferred 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. This confinement system has come under fire not only from veterinarians but also farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.

Recent pledges to move away from gestation crates made by McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Safeway, Oscar Mayer, ConAgra and other leading food companies signal a sharp reversal in a misguided, three-decade-old campaign to replace animal husbandry with animal confinement. Gestation crates are roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies and designed to prevent them from even turning around. The animals are subsequently transferred 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.

Facts

  •  Nine U.S. states have passed laws to ban the gestation crate confinement of breeding pigs.
  •  Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is clear on this issue: “Confining an animal for most of its life in a box in which it is not able to turn around does not provide a decent life.” Grandin further states, “We’ve got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go.”
  • Leading pork producers Smithfield and Hormel have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017, and Cargill is already 50 percent crate-free.

Media Contact: Anna West: 301-258-1518; awest@humanesociety.org

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