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Gopal, Scutari Bill Outlawing Confinement of Breeding Pigs, Calves Raised for Veal Advances


TRENTON – The Senate released legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senate President Nicholas Scutari prohibiting the inhumane confinement of breeding pigs and calves raised for veal in a manner that unduly restricts their movement and/or provides inadequate space.


“The confinement of mother pigs and calves raised for veal, a common practice among factory farms, constitutes a savage form of animal abuse, and should not be tolerated,” said Senator Gopal (D-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 several other countries in making sure this uncivilized practice is banned once and for all.”


Typically, in factory farm settings, a mother pig will spend the entirety of her pregnancies and nursing periods confined in a metal cage, called a gestation crate or sow stall. Gestation crates enclose pigs in a space of about seven feet by two feet — an area barely larger than the pig’s body. A few days before giving birth, sows are moved to farrowing crates where they are able to lie down with an attached crate where their piglets can nurse.


“Pigs are well-known to be intelligent, social and caring animals with strong maternal instincts. 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 Senator Scutari (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “In the end this is a question of morality, and whether New Jersey is at last willing to do the right thing.”


Specifically, the bill would prohibit a farm owner or operator from knowingly confining a breeding pig or calf raised for veal:


  • in a manner that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely;
  • in the case of a calf raised for veal, in a manner that prevents the animal from grooming itself naturally or having visual contact with other calves.


The State Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture would establish penalties for violations of the provisions of the bill.


The bill, S-1298 was released by a vote of 35-1.