This week America’s hog farmers and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to veto legislation that would dictate how his state’s hog farmers raise and care for their animals.
The request comes after the New Jersey Senate today concurred with the state Assembly in approving a bill that bans the use of gestation stalls for sows. The vast majority of the country’s hog farmer use gestation stalls for pregnant sows, which allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows.
The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians recognize gestation stalls and group housing as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows during pregnancy. They point out that there is no scientific consensus on the best way to house gestating sows because each type of housing system has inherent advantages and disadvantages.
The legislation was pushed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal-rights groups despite the fact that few, if any, of New Jersey’s small number of hog farmers use gestation stalls.
“The bill is a solution in search of a problem,” said NPPC President-elect Dr. Howard Hill, a hog farmer from Iowa. “This is about HSUS using New Jersey to advance its national animal-rights agenda, and we hope Gov. Christie won’t go along with it.”
Over the past 12 years, HSUS has been lobbying other states to pass gestation stall bans. If approved, the New Jersey legislation would undermine animal-care standards adopted in 2004 by the state’s Department of Agriculture and upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2008.
“Decisions about animal well-being and housing should be determined by those who understand the animals and work with them every day,” Hill said. “We urge Gov. Christie to veto this legislation and allow farmers and veterinarians to decide the best way to care for their animals.”