New Jersey is now one signature away from banning extreme confinement for mother pigs and baby calves.

The state Senate passed S.1298, which bans gestation and veal crates — cruel, cramped spaces that don’t give pigs and baby cows enough room to stand up or even turn around. The state Assembly passed companion legislation in May.

So  the critically important legislation, which will require the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to update its humane standards regulations so that animals have enough space to move and turn around, now is on its way to Gov. Phil Murphy for passage.

The bill is the result of a 13-year long push for animal welfare and public health by animal welfare agencies Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the Humane Society of the United States, which led a coalition of more than 60 organizations to champion the changes.

“Passing this legislation, which is supported by over 93 percent of New Jersey residents, was long overdue,” said ALDF Legislative Affairs Manager Brian R. Hackett.  “We urge Gov. Murphy to sign this commonsense legislation into law.” 

Eleven other states already have moved away from — or outright prohibited — the cruel confinement of the sensitive and highly intelligent animals. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold Prop 12, a voter-initiated ban on extreme confinement for animals in the agriculture industry, shows New Jersey is entirely within its rights to insist on more compassionate standards.

The coalition also highlighted that extreme confinement of animals within industrial animal agriculture has stark consequences for humans, with numerous scientists citing tight confinement in filthy conditions as a major pandemic risk. 

Agencies including the American Public Health Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Center for Food Safety also have noted that factory farm conditions cause serious stress for animals, weakening their immune systems.

That makes them more susceptible to diseases — including those that can jump to humans. 

“These methods and the conditions they impose have been shown to increase the spread of diseases, which then can sicken people,” says New Jersey State Director at the Humane Society Elissa Frank. “Many mother pigs in the industrial pork industry are confined in cages so small that they can’t even turn around. They’re forced to eat, sleep, and defecate in the same meager amount of space. Calves face a similar fate. With the passage of this legislation, we can properly address both the animal misery and the public health risks of the current situation.”

Lady Freethinker applauds New Jersey legislators for taking these common sense steps, and we are eagerly awaiting news that Gov. Murphy has signed these provisions into law. 

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please sign our petition urging a federal ban on these cruel crates!

SIGN: End Cruel Gestation Crates For Pigs Across the US