This is the third post in a series about Cruelty Free Supply Chains.
In the past few years, many companies have made pledges to phase out sow gestation crates from their supply chains. Some of the biggest companies in the food industry have made such pledges, including the fast food companies McDonald’s and Burger King.
Now, New Jersey residents are being educated about the cruelty of housing pregnant pigs in an area so small they can’t even roll around in it. The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) started airing commercials in the garden state on Super Bowl Sunday in order to highlight the need for the New Jersey legislature to pass bills mandating that breeding pigs have enough space to move around in. New Jersey Assembly Bill 3250 and Senate Bill 1921 would phase out gestation crates. The Senate bill passed last summer with a 35 to one vote, and the Assembly bill is still pending. A recent survey of New Jersey voters found that 91 percent support the bills banning gestation crates.
“These new commercials shine a spotlight on inhumane treatment of animals that New Jersey citizens deeply oppose,” said Kathy Schatzmann, New Jersey state director for The HSUS. “It is clearly wrong to immobilize animals for their entire lives and legislators can support the values of their constituents by voting for A.3250 and S.1921.”
Last month, 100 New Jersey veterinarians joined the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) in calling for an end to gestation crates use. The HSVMA has about 4,500 members nationwide. The vets signed a letter written by the HSVMA supporting New Jersey’s bill. “We want to convey our strong support for your bill that would ban the extreme confinement of breeding sows in gestation crates,” the letter stated.
“As unflinching advocates for animal health and welfare, we strongly agree with the central premise of this bill, that gestation crate confinement of breeding pigs should be banned because of the inhumane treatment involved,” said Dr. Gordon Stull, a veterinarian from Galloway, New Jersey, and a member of the HSVMA Leadership Council.
“Not only are we disturbed by the physical suffering that pigs confined in these crates endure, we are equally concerned with the psychological suffering that results from isolating intelligent, social animals from each other and from an inability to engage in most natural behaviors,” Stull added.
Nine states have already passed laws banning gestation crates, with Rhode Island being the latest to enact a ban last summer. The other states with bans are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio and Oregon. Bills to ban the use of gestation crates are also pending in Massachusetts and New York. The Massachusetts bill (H 458), if passed, would not only ban the use of gestation crates, but also confining hens and calves in crates. Vermont will introduce legislation this year to ban gestation crates, according to the HSUS.
Photo: Wikipedia user, Baileynorwoodrocks