The New York Pork Producers, the National Pork Producers Council and America’s hog farmers today hailed the New York Legislature for not approving ill-advised legislation banning the use of individual maternity pens pregnant for sows. The measure could have had a devastating effect on local sustainable agriculture in New York by forcing farmers to abandon this humane animal housing system.
Several small farmers in New York use individual maternity pens for pregnant sows, because they allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows. If passed, the measure would have forced local farmers to abandon such housing, resulting in financial damage and potentially ruining a safe and sustainable source of food for the state’s consumers.
The legislation was pushed by the powerful lobbying group the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other radical animal-rights groups even though, if approved, it would have prevented farmers from caring for their animals in a way approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. Both organizations recognize individual maternity pens as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows during pregnancy.
“This is about HSUS using New York to advance its national agenda, regardless of the negative impact it would have on the health and safety of the animals and the small independent farmers who care for them.” said New York pork producer John Lash.
Over the past 10 years, HSUS has lobbied other states to pass bans on individual maternity pens. While a few states have enacted bans through ballot initiatives, few state legislatures have approved such a prohibition because of the negative impacts it would have on local producers.
“Decisions about animal well-being and housing should be determined by those who understand the animals and work with them every day,” said Lash.