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Who knew there was any connection at all between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, pig pens, and the state of Iowa?

via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been months since he vetoed the bill outlawing gestation crates in the Garden State this past June, and now Christie is confronted once again by animal rights and farm activists during his town hall meeting in Sayreville. The activists refuse to give up on the fight, however, asking for Christie to reconsider the bill.

“It really broke my heart when you vetoed that bill,” said one resident. “Seeing these pigs confined in these crates really breaks my heart.”

Breeding sows are confined for the majority of their lives in gestation crates, which are so small that they are unable to turn around. These mini prisons deny the pig’s basic needs, and as a result they experience severe physical and psychological disorders. Would you ever imagine housing your beloved pet in these death pens, left to suffer for the remainder of their life?

Pork producers argue that gestation crates are needed because sows who are housed together in crates will fight, injure or kill their fellow pen mates. However, those opposed believe they are one of the cruelest features of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO). An American Farm Bureau poll found that 95 percent of Americans believe farm animals should be well-cared for. The same poll found that most Americans don’t consider gestation crate confinement to be just.

However, Animal welfare advocates regard the use of gestation crates as one of the most cruel features of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO). An American Farm Bureau poll found that 95 percent of Americans believe farm animals should be well-cared for. The same poll found that most Americans don’t consider gestation crate confinement to be just.

A majority of New Jerseyans and animal rights activists agree that gestation crates should be phased out permanently. In September, business woman Martha Stewart who hails from Jersey City called upon state legislators to override the Governor’s veto. In a letter she sent to the members of the New Jersey Legislature, Stewart stated that the “the effort to help prevent cruelty died, since Governor Christie decided to veto the bill after hearing from out-of-state pork interests.”

While New Jersey has a small population of pig farmers, only raising about 700 statewide, the state still uses gestation crates, the cheapest method available. The crates are so small pigs can’t even turn around. But even that wasn’t enough evidence of cruelty for Christie to sign the bill into law.

What I know about pig gestation and the crates I learned when the bill came before me last time,’ he said. ‘If bill comes back, I will certainly consider any additional evidence that people want to put in front of me.’

Christie also mentioned that farmers made a stronger case than animal activists. Perhaps that case is that Iowa, the largest pork producer in the country, has a huge impact on presidential elections, which Christie has been highly speculated to be interested in for 2016. That would explain why a bill that was supported by both democrats and republicans and 91 percent of New Jersey voters was simply vetoed. (via

Iowa is the nation’s number one hog producing state, while New Jersey ranks nowhere near close. Christie is well aware of how monumental Iowa is in the presidential race, and getting the state on his side is important. Christie’s veto of the bill that has the public questioning his political motives. With the upcoming presidential caucuses ahead, we’ll be sure to keep a close eye on him.

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