Good news is always appreciated, and the common sense displayed by governmental officials in both New York and New Jersey this month is positive for pork producers. On Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have banned the use of sow stalls. The legislation had been pushed by animal rights groups. Earlier this month, the New York Legislature refused to pass legislation banning gestation stalls.
Gov. Christie said, “The proper balancing of humane treatment of gestating pigs with the interests of farmers whose livelihood depends on their ability to properly manage their livestock best rests with the state’s farming experts — the State Board (of Agriculture) and the Department (of Agriculture).” In response, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President-elect Howard Hill, DVM, a pork producer from Cambridge, IA, said, “This is a great example of a governor standing up to powerful lobbying groups on behalf of small, independent farmers. America’s family farmers thank Gov. Christie for rejecting this bad legislation.”
NPPC also joined New York pork producers to applaud the New York Legislature for failing to pass a similar gestation stall-banning measure pushed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal rights groups. While talking about the situation, New York pork producer John Lash said, “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. Decisions about animal well-being and housing should be determined by those who understand the animals and work with them every day.”
NPPC said the New York measure could have had a devastating effect on local sustainable agriculture in New York by forcing farmers to abandon this humane housing system. Several small farmers in New York use individual gestation stalls.
In early June, the Connecticut Legislature also defeated a bill to ban the use of gestation stalls for sows. “This is the latest defeat for HSUS; momentum against these ill-advised measures is building,” Hill said. “Similar legislation was also recently defeated in New Hampshire and Vermont. Decisions about animal well-being and housing should be determined by those who understand the animals and work with them every day.”
National Hog Farmer agrees with the common sense approach of letting producers decide what works best for their operations and their animals. What do you think about these recent legislative decisions? Where do you think HSUS will strike next? Share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below, or email [email protected]
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