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Christie Bows To Iowa Pork Lobby

World continues to move away from gestation crates, leaving Christie behind

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the confinement of pigs in "gestation crates," metal cages so small the animals can't even turn around. The veto comes even after Christie was the subject of an outpouring of concern from New Jersey voters to sign the bill, along with limited pressure from Iowa's governor and pork industry to reject it. The bill had the support of 93 percent of New Jersey voters, the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, the state's largest newspapers, and animal welfare organizations across New Jersey. It was overwhelmingly approved along bipartisan lines in the state Senate 32-1 and in the Assembly 53-13.

Pig farming using gestation crates. (Photo: HSUS)

Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, says "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. 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."

Nine other states, Canada, the European Union, Australia, India and Brazil are moving away from gestation crates due to animal welfare concerns. Some of America's biggest pork producers, like Smithfield and Cargill, are also ending gestation crate use in their supply chains. And leading food companies like McDonald's, Wendy's, Safeway, Burger King and more than 60 others are eliminating these crates from their supply chains.