Oregon Governor Signs Farm Animal Cruelty Bill Into Law
Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski signed legislation prohibiting a particularly inhumane method of confining animals on factory farms. Specifically, the new law will bar the use of gestation crates th two-foot by seven-foot cages that confine breeding sows in the pig industry. Oregon is now the first state in the country to ban the use of gestation crates by action of a state legislature. Arizona and Florida have done so through voter ballot initiatives.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski signed legislation prohibiting a particularly inhumane method of confining animals on factory farms. Specifically, the new law will bar the use of gestation crates – two-foot by seven-foot cages that confine breeding sows in the pig industry. Oregon is now the first state in the country to ban the use of gestation crates by action of a state legislature. Arizona and Florida have done so through voter ballot initiatives.
The measure, S.B. 694, introduced by state Senator Ginny Burdick ( D-18 ), prohibits the confinement of breeding pigs in metal gestation crates so small the animals can't turn around for months on end. It takes effect in 2013, giving farmers six years to transition if they need to. There are approximately 4,000 breeding sows in Oregon.
"Senator Burdick's determined leadership and humane sensibilities are responsible for the passage of this important bill," states Kelly Peterson, Oregon state director for The HSUS. "The measure sends a strong message to the agribusiness industry that gestation crate confinement is simply too cruel and inhumane for anyone to support."
"Thanks to state lawmakers, Oregon will not be a destination site for enormous hog factory farms, which are always accompanied by the inhumane treatment of the animals and massive animal waste problems that threaten water supplies and the health of nearby communities," adds Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.
Burdick's bill gained support in both the House and Senate, with the House approving it 32-25 and the Senate approving it in an overwhelming vote of 20-9.
"Gestation crates are truly cruel and inhumane, and this measure simply provides these highly intelligent and social creatures the ability to turn around and stretch their limbs," states Senator Burdick. "I am pleased that my colleagues saw fit to offer a standard of care for these animals because they, too, deserve humane treatment. I was very pleased to work with The Humane Society of the United States on this issue."
In the U.S. Congress, Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio ( D-4 ) has introduced a similar bill to stop inhumane treatment of farm animals: H.R. 1726, the Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act, which would require meat, dairy, and egg products purchased for federal programs to meet a basic set of animal welfare standards, including not confining breeding pigs in gestation crates.
SB 694 prohibits confining pigs during pregnancy in a manner that prevents them from lying down, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely. Gestation crates are two-foot-wide metal cages that confine millions of breeding pigs for nearly their entire lives. The crates are so restrictive that the animals can't even turn around for months on end. The animals suffer both leg and joint problems along with psychosis from this extreme treatment. The HSUS has 130,000 members in Oregon. Timeline:
June 28, 2007—Gov. Ted Kulongoski signs SB 694 into law. June 11, 2007—House approves SB 694 by a vote of 32-25. May 23, 2007—House Judiciary Committee approves SB 694 by a vote of 6-3. April 26, 2007—Senate approves SB 694 by a vote of 20-9. April 12, 2007—Senate Judiciary Committee approves SB 694 by a vote of 3-1. March 2007—Burger King announces that it has started phasing in the use of pork from producers that don't confine pigs in gestation crates. March 2007—Wolfgang Puck announces the implementation of a wide-ranging program to improve animal welfare in his supply chain, including not using veal or pork from crated sows. March 2007—U.S. Congressmembers Peter DeFazio ( D-Ore. ) and Christopher Shays ( R-Conn. ) introduce H.R. 1726, the Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act, which requires animal producers supplying federal programs with meat, dairy, and eggs to comply with a moderate set of animal welfare standards. February 28, 2007—The Senate Judiciary Committee introduces SB 694 at the request of Senator Ginny Burdick ( D-Portland District 18 ). January 2007—Smithfield Foods and Maple Leaf Foods announce that they are phasing out their use of gestation crates to confine breeding pigs. November 2006—In a landslide, Arizona voters pass an HSUS-led initiative banning gestation crates and veal crates in the state ( effective 2013 ). January 2005—Senator Ginny Burdick introduces a bill to ban the use of gestation crates. November 2002—Florida voters overwhelmingly approve an HSUS-led measure banning gestation crates in the state ( effective 2008 ). -30-
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization – backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at humanesociety.org.
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