Oregon lawmakers are considering a ban on what they call ‘restrictive confinement’ of either gestating sows or veal calves.

Last Friday, the Oregon senate held a public hearing on the issue. The bill up for consideration is similar to ballot measures that have passed in Arizona and Florida. Similar bills are pending in 15 other state legislatures for consideration this year.

"It's a growing trend to look at the worst abuses in factory agriculture," Michael Markarian, executive vice president the Humane Society of the United States, told the Oregonian newspaper. HSUS is responsible for Oregon's Senate Bill 694. Last year, HSUS officials said the group will re-commit its efforts and money to the legislative front. 

Dennis Treacy, vice president of environmental and corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods, says the onslaught of proposed legislation ignores what's already occurring within the industry. In January, Smithfield announced it would phase out gestation-sow stalls and replace them with group pens. Canada's Maple Leaf Foods followed suit.

Veterinary science supports the individual stalls as humane treatment, notes Treacy. But, he adds, "customers have asked us over the years if there is an alternative."

Source: The Oregonian