September 17, 2013
Animal Welfare Groups Urge N.J. Legislators to Support Override on Gestation Crate Bill
New Jerseyans overwhelmingly support ban on extreme confinement of pigs
New Jersey-based and national animal welfare organizations have joined together to urge state legislators to reaffirm their support for a statewide ban on the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in gestation crates—cages roughly the size of pigs’ bodies that are so small, the animals can’t even turn around.
In May, the state legislature overwhelmingly voted to prohibit these inhumane devices. Gov. Christie, under pressure from out-of-state pork interests, vetoed the bill. The coalition has launched a campaign asking legislators to override the veto. The campaign includes a new television commercial from The Humane Society of the United States showing pigs in gestation crates that will run on TV stations across New Jersey.
The legislation, S.1921, would require that pigs used for breeding be able to at least stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs.
A statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research revealed 91 percent of New Jersey voters support the legislation.
McDonald’s, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Oscar Mayer and more than 60 other leading food companies have announced plans to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains, while, many traditional farmers have avoided using gestation crates for generations. In fact, the controversial confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.
The coalition consists of New Jersey’s leading animal protection groups, including the NJSPCA, Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey, Animal Protection League of New Jersey, Monmouth County SPCA, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, the New Jersey League of Humane Voters, People for Animals, the Humane Society of Atlantic City, Animal Welfare Association and Animal Alliance.
Nationally, the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, Farm Sanctuary, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane League, Farm Forward, and the Center for Food Safety all back this effort.
Kathleen Schatzmann, New Jersey state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food. Pork producers and food companies are ending the use of cruel gestation crates, and New Jersey should do the same.”
Debora Bresch, senior state director of ASPCA government relations, mid-Atlantic region, said: “Citizens of New Jersey care about animals and know that forcing intelligent, sensitive creatures to endure the horrors of the gestation crate is unnecessary. We hope that as the spotlight shines brighter on this cruelty, every single legislator will join the majority now and vote to ban the inhumane confinement of pregnant pigs.”
Rick Yocum, president of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: “We're thankful to all the legislators who voted in favor of banning the cruel confinement of mother pigs in New Jersey and ask that they continue supporting this important animal protection bill.”
Heather Cammisa, president and CEO of St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center, said: "Gestation crate intensive confinement, denying animals the ability to turn around or engage in natural behaviors, is abject cruelty and would prosecuted as such if it were done to a dog in our state.”
Bruce Friedrich, senior advocacy director for Farm Sanctuary, states: “It’s simply unacceptable to confine pregnant pigs so tightly that they can’t even turn around, and we look forward to working with all of the compassionate New Jersey legislators who voted to outlaw the practice the first time to see their will, and the will of New Jersey voters, realized.”
Nathan Runkle, executive director for Mercy For Animals, said: “We urge New Jersey's legislators to remain steadfast in their commitment to outlaw the extreme confinement of pregnant pigs, one of the worst forms of institutionalized factory farm cruelty in existence.”
Barry Kellogg, VMD, senior veterinary advisor for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, said: “On behalf of the 100 New Jersey veterinarians who joined us in supporting an end to the extreme confinement of farm animals as well as the overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents who support this reform, we urge New Jersey legislators to continue their support of this important animal health and welfare measure.”
Chris Green, director of legislative affairs for Animal Legal Defense Fund, said: "We hope the legislature will stand by its conscience and ban this inhumane practice once and for all."
- Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and the entire European Union have passed legislation to outlaw gestation crates.
- World-renowned animal scientist and meat industry advisor Temple Grandin, Ph.D., states, “Gestation crates for pigs are a real problem... Basically, you’re asking a sow to live in an airline seat ... I think it’s something that needs to be phased out.”
- More than 100 New Jersey-based veterinarians signed on to a letter expressing support for A.3250/S.1921.
- The Star-Ledger editorialized in support of A.3250/S.1921, calling it “basic decency.”
- The Times of Trenton printed an op-ed in support of A.3250/S.1921.
Anna West, The Humane Society of the United States: 240-751-2669; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Goldrick, ASPCA; 646-291-4582; Rebecca.Goldrick@aspca.org
Meredith Turner, Farm Sanctuary: 646-369-6212; email@example.com