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March 21, 2013

Animal Protection Groups Applaud New Jersey Assembly for Overwhelming Vote to Protect Breeding Pigs from Extreme Confinement

  • Gestation crates are so cruel that nine U.S. states and the EU have passed legislation to outlaw them.   USDA

The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals and the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) applaud the New Jersey Assembly for passing A.3250/S.1921 by a vote of 60 to 5.

A.3250/S.1921 will prohibit the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in crates so small that the animals are unable to even turn around for nearly their entire lives. The bill now heads to the Senate for concurrence, then to Gov. Chris Christie. 

HSUS New Jersey State Director Kathleen Schatzmann said: “New Jersey is one step closer to becoming the tenth state to outlaw the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in gestation crates. We thank Senator Raymond Lesniak and Assembly members Gilbert ‘Whip’ Wilson, Marlene Caride and Thomas Giblin for their great leadership on this important bill.”

Farm Sanctuary Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives Bruce Friedrich said: “New Jersey’s decision is further evidence that these cruel systems have no future. Cramming animals into crates so small that they can’t even turn around is horribly abusive. These systems have no place in a just society.”

Mercy For Animals Executive Director Nathan Runkle said: “As a civilized society, it is our moral obligation to protect all animals, including farmed animals, from needless suffering and abuse. We praise the New Jersey Assembly for taking action on this important animal welfare measure.”

Senior Director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Mid-Atlantic Region Debora Bresch, Esq., said: “Americans care deeply about how farm animals are treated, and this inhumane practice is out of step with the values of New Jersey’s citizens. This bill will help ensure better welfare for New Jersey’s breeding pigs, who all too often endure lives of agony and frustration on factory farms.”

A.3250/S.1921 would require that breeding pigs raised for pork be able to at least stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs. The vote in New Jersey signifies a movement away from the three-decade-old trend in the pork industry that has left most breeding pigs confined day and night in gestation crates during their four-month pregnancy. These cages are roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies and are 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 from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.

Background:

  • Gestation crates are so cruel that nine U.S. states and the European Union have passed legislation to outlaw them.
  • The Star-Ledger editorialized in support of A.3250/S.1921, “[a]nother bill pending in the state Assembly would simply require that mother pigs at least be able to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs. That’s basic decency.”
  • The Times of Trenton editorialized in support of A.3250/S.1921, “[t]he Assembly should move swiftly toward passage and put the bill on the governor’s desk. Imagine the outcry if dogs or cats were subjected to such treatment.”
  • Rutgers Dean Gus Friedrich wrote for the Times of Trenton in support of the bill, “farm animal protection is perhaps the most bipartisan issue that exists: The New Jersey crate ban is supported by 91 percent of New Jersey voters, including 92 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans. Conservative columnist George Will, Fox News commentator Fred Barnes and the pope [emeritus] have denounced industrial confinement of animals.”
  • Renowned animal welfare scientist Temple Grandin, Ph.D., says, “We’ve got to treat animals right, and gestation stalls have got to go.” She continues, “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.”
  • Leading food companies like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Safeway, Burger King and more than 40 others have announced plans to remove pig gestation crates from their supply chain.
  • A recent poll commissioned by the National Pork Board found that the majority of pork producers said they already have housing systems other than gestation stalls or plan to change to more open pens. 

Media Contacts:

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

Meredith Turner: mturner@farmsanctuary.org, 646-369-6212

Maureen Linehan: maureen.linehan@aspca.org, 646-706-4602

Vandhana Bala: vandhanab@mercyforanimals.org, 312-909-6051

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