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Coalition pushes for sow stall ban in New Jersey

By Carina Perkins+ , 18-Sep-2013

Sow stalls are central to the battle over pig welfare
Sow stalls are central to the battle over pig welfare

A coalition of US animal welfare groups have joined forces to urge New Jersey legislators to push for a statewide ban on sow stalls.

The New Jersey state legislature voted for a bill which would ban gestation crates in May, but the bill was subsequently vetoed by New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The coalition, made up of the local and national animal production groups, are now calling on legislators to override the veto and press ahead with the legislation, which would require that breeding pigs are able to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs.

Rick Yocum, president of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: “We’re thankful to all the legislators who voted in favour of banning the cruel confinement of mother pigs in New Jersey and ask that they continue supporting this important animal protection bill.”

Coalition member the Humane Society of the United States pointed out that there was widespread public support for a sow stall ban in New Jersey, with a statewide survey revealing that 91% of voters would support the legislation. It added that more than 60 US food companies, including McDonald’s and Costco, have announced plans to eliminate sow stalls from their supply chains.

Kathleen Schatzmann, New Jersey state director for HSUS, said: “All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food. Pork producers and food companies are ending the use of cruel gestation crates, and New Jersey should do the same.”

The US states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island have already implemented bans on gestation crates and the movement has gained widespread support from veterinarians across the US. More than 100 New Jersey-based veterinarians signed a letter expressing support for the legislation.

Barry Kellogg, VMD, senior veterinary advisor for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, said: “On behalf of the 100 New Jersey veterinarians who joined us in supporting an end to the extreme confinement of farm animals as well as the overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents who support this reform, we urge New Jersey legislators to continue their support of this important animal health and welfare measure.”

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