WASHINGTON – The National Pork Producers Council thanked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for vetoing legislation that would have banned the use of gestation stalls in the state.

In vetoing the bill, Christie said balancing the humane treatment of gestating pigs with the interests of farmers rests with the State Board of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture.

"I have every confidence that the State Board and the Department will continue to closely monitor and study modern and appropriate techniques for the humane raising, keeping, care, and treatment of all domestic livestock, and will propose amended regulations if, and when, modern science and evidence demonstrates a need for modified agricultural practices," Christie said.

The New Jersey legislature passed the bill in May. The legislation established "cruel confinement of a gestating pig" as an animal cruelty offense. The bill prohibited crates, confinement or tethers that prevent gestating sows from being able to turn around, lie down freely, stand up or fully extend their limbs. Violation could face fines of not less than $250 or more than $1,000 for each offense, or imprisonment for no more than six months, or both.

“This is a great example of a governor standing up to powerful lobbying groups on behalf of small, independent farmers,” said NPPC President-elect Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “America’s family hog farmers thank Gov. Christie for rejecting this bad legislation.”

NPPC noted that the New Jersey agriculture departments in 2004 adopted “Humane Standards” for livestock, and the state Supreme Court in 2008 upheld most of the standards, including a direct challenge of the regulations governing the treatment of gestating pigs.