There has been a lot of attention in the news recently about gestation stalls used on some sow farms. The argument has been made that the stalls are inhumane, as they are small and may not allow a pregnant sow from moving freely. As a result, many states around the country have introduced legislation banning the use of these “gestation stalls”. The argument has also been made, by those who support the use of gestation stalls, that different housing models have different benefits and risks, and proper training and research are necessary before making any housing decision. For relevant AVMA policies, click here.
New Jersey S 1921 specifies that crating, confining, or tethering a gestating sow in a manner that prevents her from freely turning around, standing up, lying down, or fully extending her limbs shall constitute a disorderly persons offense. The bill does allow for this confinement under certain circumstances. For example, medical research, veterinary examination, transportation, an exhibition or educational program, and animal husbandry purposes that last no more than 6 hours are a few of the exceptions allowed where a gestating sow may be confined contrary to the provisions of the bill. The bill further clarifies that it is not an acceptable defense to a violation of this section that the sow was being kept in accordance with customary agricultural or animal husbandry practices. The bill was recently reported from Senate Committee and is on Second Reading before the New Jersey Senate.
What do you think about gestation stalls and the risks and benefits that come with different housing models?