Friday, November 04, 2005

Coalition Asks Court To Overturn State Farming Regulations

A very interesting case. Though it's in New Jersey, it will have ramifications for future events. Might set a nice precedent. Read on.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


COALITION ASKS COURT TO OVERTURN NEW JERSEY FARMING REGULATIONS

Department of Agriculture’s So-Called “Humane” Regulations Allow
Rampant Animal Cruelty on Factory Farms

TRENTON, NJ (November 4, 2005)—In legal papers filed today in the
Superior Court of New Jersey, a broad coalition of humane organizations,
farmers, veterinarians, and environmental and consumer groups allege that
the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has failed to establish humane
standards for farm animals—as required by the New Jersey legislature in
1996—and has instead sanctioned numerous inhumane practices used to raise
animals for meat, eggs, and milk on industrialized factory farms.

The lawsuit goes beyond any previous legal action taken on behalf of farm
animals in that it seeks a judicial declaration that most common factory
farming practices are inhumane under New Jersey law.

The groups include the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals, Farm Sanctuary, The Humane Society of the United States,
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Welfare
Institute, Animal Welfare Advocacy, Save Our Resources Today, Center for
Food Safety, and the Organic Consumers Association.

“The Legislature has charged the Department of Agriculture to create
humane standards for the treatment of agricultural animals, as well as an
appropriate method for enforcing those standards,” said Stuart Rhodes,
NJSPCA president. “Their current rules and regulations are neither
humane nor do they permit appropriate enforcement of these standards.”

The new “humane” regulations permit numerous inhumane farming practices,
including:
• Confining pregnant pigs for months at a time in gestation crates,
individual metal stalls too small for them to turn around;
• Tethering and restrictively confining calves raised for veal
until they are sent to slaughter; and
• Force-molting egg-laying hens by starving them up to 14 days.

“As the only state in the Union that requires a code of humane standards
for farm animals, New Jersey has an opportunity to improve the quality of
life for the state’s farm animals, while influencing humane measures
nationwide,” said Gene Bauston, president of Farm Sanctuary.
“Unfortunately, New Jersey’s Department of Agriculture has chosen to
cater to the will of factory farming, endorsing cruelty to animals as a
standard business practice.”

In 1996, the New Jersey legislature decided that its cruelty code should
cover farming practices and directed the NJDA to develop appropriate
“standards for humane raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing, and
sale of domestic livestock.” By law, these regulations were supposed to
protect farm animals from inhumane, industrialized farming practices.

Eight years later in May 2004, the agency issued regulations that not
only continue to allow industrialized farming practices, but also exempt
compliant farming operations from liability under New Jersey animal
cruelty laws. Additionally, the regulations exempt all “routine husbandry
practices,” essentially codifying the abusive practices the legislature
sought to change.

“New Jersey Department of Agriculture officials may be the only people
left in America who still think factory farming is humane,” said Jonathan
R. Lovvorn, vice president of animal protection litigation for The HSUS.
“The New Jersey Legislature certainly didn’t think so; otherwise, it
wouldn’t have ordered the agency to adopt new standards.”

The organizations are represented by the public interest law firms Meyer
& Glitzenstein, Washington, DC, and Egert & Trakinski, Hackensack, N.J.
More information about the New Jersey lawsuit can be found at
njfarms.org.

-30-

The NJSPCA is the law enforcement agency that is charged with enforcing
the animal cruelty statutes in New Jersey. The organization was enacted
in 1868.

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection
organization with over 150,000 members and supporters. Since
incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel
practices of the "food animal" industry through research and
investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness
projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts.
www.farmsanctuary.org.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal
protection organization representing more than 9 million members and
constituents. The non-profit organization is a mainstream voice for
animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine protection,
disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection,
animals in research and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all
animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation,
advocacy, and field work. The group is based in Washington and has
numerous field representatives across the country, including one in
Flanders, NJ. On the web at www.hsus.org.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is the
nation’s first humane organization. More than 750,000 members support the
ASPCA’s mission to promote humane principles, prevent cruelty and
alleviate pain, fear and suffering in animals. www.aspca.org.

Editor’s Note: Video and photos are available at
http://www.njfarms.org/B_video.htm


The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St., NW
Washington, DC 20037
www.hsus.org
Promoting the Protection of All Animals

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