It’s been all over the news, even making national headlines: Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has a pig problem.
The issue at hand stems from a bill sitting on Christie’s desk. If enacted into law in New Jersey, it would ban one of the cruelest farming production methods for pregnant pigs: gestation crates.
These are metal cages so narrow that pigs cannot turn around or take more than one step forward or backward. Mother pigs are nearly immobilized like this for months on end and suffer immensely. Pigs are social and inquisitive animals. When they’re so intensively confined, they cope with the stress and lack of stimulation as best they can – by continuously biting the bars of their cages until their mouths bleed.
The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority by the New Jersey state legislature, but now faces a veto from the Garden State Governor.
This is not the first time New Jersey has tried to pass a gestation crate ban. Last year, Christie vetoed a similar bill that came across his desk, claiming that it didn’t give the New Jersey State Department of Agriculture enough authority in the matter. This year’s bill directs the Department to develop regulations against gestation crates.
Several media outlets have suggested that Christie’s reluctance to sign the gestation crate ban isn’t even about pigs at all – it’s about his Presidential ambitions. To be a serious contender for the Republican nomination in the 2016 Presidential election, Christie will need to win the early Iowa caucus. Iowa just happens to also be the nation’s top pork-producing state
So while New Jersey voters overwhelmingly support a gestation crate ban in their state, Iowa’s current governor and that state’s influential pork producers do not. Does Christie care more about Iowa voters or New Jersey voters? He has until early December to decide whether or not to sign the bill, though it’s been reported that Christie has already promised Iowa voters that he will veto the bill.
You can help convince Governor Christie to do the right thing and sign the gestation crate ban. Please call the Governor’s office at 609-292-6000, give your name and where you are calling from, and politely say that you encourage the Governor to sign S998, the bill to protect pigs.