Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (A-1970/S-1298) requiring the State Board of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture to adopt rules and regulations concerning the confinement, care, and treatment of breeding pigs and calves raised for veal. The rules and regulations, which must be adopted within 180 days after today’s signing, will establish penalties for violators. The bill prohibits confinement in an enclosure that impacts a breeding pig and calf’s ability to freely move in certain ways and properly groom itself and that limits visual contact with other calves.
“As the Garden State, agriculture is at the heart of New Jersey’s identity,” said Governor Murphy. “Ensuring that we are following humane farming practices and that farm animals are treated with care, rather than kept in enclosures so small they are immobilized, is a reflection of our values.”
“The humane treatment of domestic livestock has long been a major priority for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and we endorse legislation that supports those rules while ensuring the farmers’ right to raise livestock,” New Jersey Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Joe Atchison III said.
The legislation also provides that rules and regulations promulgated by the State Board and the Department may include exceptions for:
(1) Medical research;
(2) Examination, testing, or veterinary treatment that is supervised by a licensed veterinarian, either in person or via a telemedicine appointment;
(4) State or county fair exhibitions, 4-H programs, or similar temporary exhibitions;
(5) Humane slaughter in accordance with applicable laws and regulations; and
(6) Confinement of a breeding pig during the 14-day period prior to the expected date of the breeding pig giving birth or on any day when the breeding pig is nursing piglets.
Primary sponsors of A-1970/S-1298 include Senators Nick Scutari and Vin Gopal, and Assemblymembers Raj Mukherji, Daniel Benson, and Carol Murphy.
“Placing breeding pigs in gestation crates where their movements are so severely constrained before giving birth represents an uncommon cruelty we as a society should no longer accept,” said Senate President Nick Scutari. “In the end this is a question of morality, and whether New Jersey is willing to do the right thing.”
“The confinement of mother pigs and calves raised for veal, a common practice among factory farms, constitutes a severe form of animal abuse, and should not be allowed,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “While we are assured the majority of our hog farmers do not use this method of confinement, New Jersey needs to stand with other states and other countries in making sure this uncivilized practice is banned once and for all.”
“With this law, we are addressing a form of animal cruelty that has been used in factory farms for far too long. The restrictive confinement of pregnant pigs and calves raised for veal is inhuman and should not be condoned,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. “To force these animals into gestation crates so restrictive that they cannot turn around or exercise their muscles is unethical. Today, we are taking a moral stand against this practice.”
“I thank Governor Murphy for signing legislation banning the cruel pig crates which Governor Christie vetoed eight years ago,” said former Senator Ray Lesniak, President, The Lesniak Institute American Leadership.
“There is a clear shift in consumer sentiment — and the cruel confinement of pigs and calves raised for veal will not be tolerated. The exposure of the conditions farmed animals endure is the only way to change industry standards,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Legislative Affairs Manager Brian R. Hackett. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund is happy to see New Jersey join 11 other states that recognize the cruel confinement of these sensitive and highly intelligent animals is wrong and needs to end.”
“We are immensely grateful to Governor Murphy for signing legislation to stop the worst form of torment on pig factory farms: immobilization of the breeding sows in small metal cages,” said Wayne Pacelle, President of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “Animals built to move should be able to walk and to turn around and the governor’s signature on this bill aligns the law with that basic behavioral need.”
“There is a quote that is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi who reflected on the prevalence of animal cruelty in the 1930’s by saying ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which it treats its animals,’” said Current Committeeman and Former Harding Township Mayor Nicolas Platt. “I hope that Governor Murphy signing this bill will set an example that will be followed by every state in the union, simply because it is the right thing to do.”