On 26th July 2023, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill to ban the crates used to confine mother pigs and calves exploited for veal. The State of New Jersey joins 11 other US states that have passed similar legislation recognising that the extreme confinement of these sensitive and highly intelligent animals needs to end.

The Bill S1298 ScsSa (SCS/1R) was sponsored by State Sen. Vin Gopal and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. It passed the state Senate in June 2023 and the state Assembly in May 2023. Now the New Jersey Department of Agriculture must update regulations to allow these animals to move a bit more and turn around, in what will still be an inhumane confinement and an abusive life. However, this bill will not solve the problem of the existence of animal agriculture, but, hopefully, it will put some financial pressure on the pig and cow farmers, some of whom may then realise that switching to plant-based agriculture is a better option for them.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society of the United States led a coalition of over 60 businesses, environmental organizations, and animal protection groups on the local, state, and national levels, that have been pressing the case for this reform. 

Sen. Gopal said, “I want to thank the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society of the United States for all of your advocacy in ensuring that gestating pigs and calves are being treated humanely.” Assemblyman Mukherji said, “There is no justifiable reason to keep pregnant sows or newly born calves in heartbreakingly cruel and inhumane conditions that prohibit them from even turning around in their quarters. With today’s signature, we are one step closer to ensuring that all living beings in New Jersey are treated with common decency and respect.” Hopefully, one day, these politicians will realise that the only way to be coherent with what they stated is to support a total ban on factory farming. 

The American Public Health Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Center for Food Safety have stated that “intensive confinement prevents sows from moving freely and performing almost all natural behaviours, inducing high levels of stress. That stress triggers a physiological response that severely suppresses the sows’ immune function and that of their piglets, making the sows and their piglets more susceptible to disease.”

However, there is currently a proposal for a federal Bill, the EATS Act, that threatens this new Act, and any other similar act passed in other states, as it is aimed to ban states from legislating on animal welfare matters involving animal agriculture. 

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.