An animal rights group in Florida seeking to make it unconstitutional to house pregnant sows in gestation crates has enough signatures to put the proposed amendment on the November ballot.

Floridians for Humane Farms surpassed the 488,722 signatures required to get the question on the ballot. The amendment would phase out the use of sow gestation crates.

"Pigs in gestation crates suffer from a range of physical and psychological problems," says Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States. "It's no surprise that packing animals in small metal cages for months at a time leads to enormous suffering and emotional frustration."

The Humane Society joined with other animal-rights groups to sponsor the petition drive. Pacelle says it is the first of its kind in the country.

Florida is 30th in the nation in pork production, with only a couple of pork producers in the state are known to use gestation crates.

The amendment would make it unconstitutional to confine a pregnant pig "in a cage, crate or other enclosure, or tether a pregnant pig on a farm so that the pig is prevented from turning around freely."

No state currently bans such techniques, according to Pacelle.

Associated Press