A Florida appeals court sided with a former pork producer last week, and now the state has to pay up.
According to the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, the court upheld a Jackson County circuit judge’s ruling that awarded Stephen D. Basford more than $500,000 in a lawsuit that pit the Panhandle producer against the state because a 2002 ban on gestation stalls forced him out of business.
In 2010, Basford filed an “inverse condemnation” lawsuit and sought compensation for improvements made to his farm for the pork operation.
In a 2 to 1 decision, the 1st District Court of Appeal, found that Basford’s operation "depended on raising a high volume of pigs for market, and his improvements were designed for that purpose."
The Associated Press reports that nearly 55 percent voters approved the gestation stall ban in 2002, applying to the state’s two hog farms. Both have since gone out of business.
"This amendment was targeted to put him out of business," Stephen Turner, the Tallahassee attorney who represented Basford, said. "How proper is that?"
More than decade after Florida's ban on gestation stalls, the issue remains hotly debated. Actor Ryan Gosling recently appealed to Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council to oppose the “iron maidens.” American pork producers argue, however, that they should be able to choose whatever housing system is safest for employees.