September 26, 2013
Martha Stewart Calls on N.J. Legislators to Help Protect Pigs from Cruelty
New Jersey native Martha Stewart has written to members of the New Jersey legislature on behalf of breeding pigs. In an open letter, she urges lawmakers 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.
Stewart states, “These animals have committed no crime, yet they’re treated worse than even the most violent criminals would be treated. No prisoner in our state – or country, for that matter – is kept in a cage so small he can’t turn around for months on end. This is torture, and we shouldn’t permit it to be inflicted on anyone, especially animals who have done nothing to deserve such callous punishment.
Stewart adds her voice to the majority of New Jersey voters, 91 percent of whom support this legislation according to a survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
In May, the state legislature overwhelmingly voted to prohibit these inhumane devices, with the Assembly passing the bill by a vote of 60 to five and the Senate by a vote of 35 to one.
That 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. Gov. Christie, under pressure from out-of-state pork interests, vetoed the bill.
A coalition of animal-welfare organizations then launched a campaign asking legislators to override the veto. The campaign includes a television commercial from The Humane Society of the United States showing pigs in gestation crates.
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. The controversial confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.
- Nine states 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 Courier Post also editorialized in support of the ban.
- The Times of Trenton printed an op-ed in support of A.3250/S.1921.