THE New York General Assembly did not approve legislation that would have prohibited the use of gestation stalls for pregnant sows, according to an announcement from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
At the same time, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last week vetoed a measure that did pass in the New Jersey Assembly that prohibited the use of gestation stalls (Feedstuffs, May 20).
A gestation stall confines a sow in a space in which the animal can lie down and stand up but not turn or walk around.
However, NPPC noted that 83% of U.S. pork producers use stalls because they allow for individualized animal care and prevent aggressive behavior among sows (Feedstuffs, June 11, 2012).
The council said both group pens and stalls are approved by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and American Veterinary Medical Assn., which recognize that both housing types have advantages and disadvantages for animal care and welfare.
NPPC said had the New York legislation passed or had the New Jersey legislation been signed into law, the measures would have led to "financial damage" for local producers.
Decisions about animal care and housing "should be determined" by livestock producers who care for their animals every day, said NPPC president-elect Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and director of animal well-being for Iowa Select Farms.
Christie, in his veto message, similarly said the "proper balancing" of the humane treatment of livestock with the interests of producers whose livelihoods depend on the care and welfare of their animals "rests with the state's farming experts" at the agricultural board and in the agricultural department.
The New York and New Jersey bills were championed by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal rights organizations that NPPC said are attempting to drive national agendas by pushing "unreasonable legislation" in states with little pork production.
New Jersey, for instance, is ranked 39th of 50 states in pork production and finishes just 25,000 market hogs per year.
Hill commended Christie "for standing up to powerful lobbying organizations" like HSUS on behalf of the state's farmers.
The Connecticut General Assembly rejected legislation similar to New York's earlier last month (Feedstuffs, June 10).
Similar measures are pending in New Hampshire and Vermont.