Christie vetoes gestation crate bill

by Erica Shaffer
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TRENTON, NJ – Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have banned gestation crates in New Jersey where gestation crates are rarely used.

Christie labeled the bill a "solution in search of problem", and compared the legislation to an earlier legislative attempt to ban fracking in New Jersey, which has no frackable shale.

“We do not have an issue with gestation crates in New Jersey either; it is a practice not currently in use in New Jersey,” Christie said in a veto message. He urged the legislature to focus on significant issues facing the state.

"I urge them to get to work on those and stop following misguided partisans and special interest groups who want to use the law making process as a political cudgel on issues outside our borders," Christie wrote.

The bill passed with widespread support in New Jersey, but Iowa agriculture interests opposed the bill. Proponents of the bill said gestation crates are cruel and want to stop the practice from spreading. The Humane Society of the United States said Christie bowed to the Iowa pork industry by vetoing the bill.

“With his second veto on a gestation crate ban within the last year, Gov. Christie has proved himself an outlier on the issue of extreme confinement of farm animals," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS. “The nation’s largest pork buyers — including McDonald’s, Safeway, Costco, and others — have decided to cleanse their supply chains of pork from operations that don’t let the animals move, and even major producers like Smithfield Foods are making the switch. This veto shows cynical political calculation from the governor and an obvious capitulation to special interests, rather than leadership or humanity.”

This is the second time Christie has vetoed legislation banning gestation crates. He vetoed Senate Bill 1921 in a previous legislative session because “the scholarship and evidence regarding the use of gestation crates was divergent and unsettled”.

“As I explained then, given the variety of views on the subject, the proper balancing of the humane treatment of gestating pigs best rests with the State's farming experts — the State Board of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture both of who find this bill unnecessary and ill-advised,” Christie said in his veto message. “I will rely on our in-state experts rather than the partisan politicians who sponsor this bill. These facts are no less true today.”
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