Gov. Christie vetoes NJ gestation crate bill

By Aarian Marshall

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WASHINGTON, June 17, 2013 - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of gestation cages in the state's livestock production. The gestation crate legislation had previously passed through New Jersey's state House of Representatives and Senate.

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Christie deferred to the “the State's farming” experts - its Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture - to decide “the proper balancing of humane treatment of gestation pigs with the interests of farmers whose livelihood depends on their ability to properly manage their livestock.”

The bill would have made it an animal cruelty offense to confine a gestating sow “in a manner that prevents the animal from being able to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, or fully extend its limbs,” with a few exception.

The legislation had been promoted by a number of animal rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The National Pork Producers Council issued a statement praising Christie for his decision. “This is a great example of a governor standing up to powerful lobbying groups on behalf of small, independent farmers,” said President-elect Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa.

Gestation crates are banned or in the process of being phased out in Florida, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island. Two recent efforts to pass anti-gestation crate bills in New York and Connecticut, however, failed in their states' legislatures.

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