To: The New Jersey State House and The New Jersey State Senate

NJ Pigs Need Your Help Again!

Please ask New Jersey legislators to vote YES on S. 1921 when it comes up for a veto override vote. The bill would ban the use of cruel pig gestation crates in New Jersey.

Why is this important?

Animal cruelty is abhorrent and unacceptable. Pigs are smarter than a 3-year-old human child and do not deserve to be banished to small gestation crates for their entire lives.

S.1921 is a bill that would ban the use of pig gestation crates in NJ. The pigs are kept in barren metal stalls, often smaller than the sows themselves, which measure a mere 6 ft x 2 ft. The sows, some of whom can weigh up to 600 lbs, can't even turn around in the stalls.

In May, the New Jersey legislature voted overwhelmingly to ban these crates. The bill passed the Assembly by a margin of 60-5 votes, and by the Senate 29-4. In June, Governor Chris Christie vetoed the legislation. It's been speculated that perhaps the Governor was thinking more about an Iowa presidential primary, and his friendship with US Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), rather than the welfare of these animals. Iowa is, after all, the largest pork producer in the nation.

In November, a veto override vote was attempted in the Senate, but it had to be withdrawn because it turned out that it was 2 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed for the bill to override the veto. Six Republican senators, who originally voted "YES" in support of the ban, reversed their votes to "NO" in order to stay in lockstep with the Governor. Our District 8 Senator Dawn Marie Addiego was one of the Republicans who changed her vote to "NO." The other Republican senators who changed their votes to "NO" included: Jennifer Beck (Monmouth), Tom Kean, Jr. (Union), Christopher Connors (Ocean), Jim Holzapfel (Ocean), and Robert Singer (Ocean).

It has been argued that New Jersey doesn't have the massive number of hogs that other states have, so the vote is irrelevant here. However, this argument doesn't hold water. We shouldn't tolerate cruelty whether it's inflicted on hundreds of thousands of animals or just one.

Others have argued that the intensive confinement is not inhumane, and they cite "experts" that will attest to that. However, those "experts" have conflicts of interest associated with their close connections with the industry (lobbyists, researchers accepting industry grant money, etc.) Impartial animal behaviorists have advocated for the ban.

But it doesn't take a degree in animal science to see that the crates are inhumane. Pigs are sentient beings. They suffer as we do: pain, boredom, fear. It's also well-documented that they are highly intelligent. To subject an animal to this extensive confinement during their several years of continuous breeding (until they are slaughtered), is simply wrong.

Most people recognize this. Nine other states have banned the crates. The European Union has banned them. Australia and New Zealand will phase them out over the next two years, and Canada has moved in that direction as well. And many corporate pork purchasers are no longer allowing their suppliers to use the crates.

Here in the Garden State, the pig gestation crate ban has garnered widespread support from farmers, veterinarians, and the public. Polls show that nearly 90 percent of New Jersey residents would like to see the gestation crates abolished.

Please sign the petition and urge your New Jersey legislators to vote their conscience and their constituents' wishes, and once again vote "YES" on the upcoming veto override vote.