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.”