Connecticut stands up for family hog farmers’ rights

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This week, the National Pork Producers Council thanked the Senate Environment Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly for standing with local Connecticut farmers by defeating a measure banning the use of gestation stalls, a safe and humane form of housing pregnant sows.

Proponents Friday attempted to add language outlawing gestation stalls – stripped earlier – to a bill establishing an animal care standards board. The attempt failed on a 15-9 vote after the committee heard from farmers from across the state that the ban would make criminals of farmers using humane farming practices.

The vast majority of the country’s hog farmers use gestation stalls to house pregnant sows because they allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows. The housing method is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows.

Defeat of the stall ban measure in Connecticut was the latest in a series of losses for animal-rights groups, which over the past few years have expended significant resources on the issue in several northeast states with no results. Led by the Humane Society of the United States, the groups have claimed such housing systems are inhumane to sows.

In voting against the measure, Environment Committee Co-Chair Linda Gentile said, “I absolutely resent the state of Connecticut being used as a political fundraising piece or leverage.”

“Farmers are learning how to stick up for themselves and to fight back against extremely well-funded activist groups that think they know better than farmers and veterinarians how to care for animals,” said Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, who is president of NPPC. “Hog farmers everywhere are appreciative of the level-headedness and compassion for family farmers Environment Committee members have shown on this issue.”

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IA  |  March, 26, 2014 at 08:57 AM

It's not about level-headedness. It's about putting PROFITS above the care of the sows. A farmer's sows are considered property to be managed (for profit), rather than being seen as sentient beings to be cared for until killed and eaten.

KS  |  March, 26, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Exactly!...fake IA, exactly. Because? They are, and thanks for noticing Conn.

March, 27, 2014 at 05:23 PM

BS, these farmers are for the safety of their animals, you NUTCASES don't have a clue. And for those who have never farmed, let along raised anything themselves, you should get your facts right and stop watching fantasy movies that are based on entertainment and not facts.

Florida  |  March, 27, 2014 at 06:51 PM

Members of the public who are not familiar with sows, hogs or pigtlets and how they behave in groups do not understand that gestation crates protect the sows from aggression from other more dominant sows. Hogs are aggressive and dangerous animals to each other and to humans. This is not well understood by those not working with hogs!! This is a good result for the hogs and farmers.

California  |  March, 28, 2014 at 02:48 PM

Gestation crates are only useful to protect sows under factory farm conditions where a factory farmer wants to crowd as many together as possible. Under traditional conditions where the pigs have a large roaming area there is absolutely no pretext for using gestation crates. Farmers should reduce population density and increase space even if it means higher pork prices.


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