The NJ Supreme Court yesterday upheld most of the state’s regulation on farm animal handling. The court ruled that as a whole, state regulations on the treatment of livestock are “consistent with the meaning of the term ‘humane.'” This includes practices like gestation crates for hogs and debeaking to keep chickens from pecking at one another. However, the judges also said the state Department of Agriculture need to reevaluate in some areas, including providing stricter rules on who qualifies as a “knowledgeable individual” to perform procedures such as castration on farm animals.
“The dispute before this court has nothing to do with anyone’s love for animals, or with the way in which any of us treats our pets; rather, it requires a balancing of the interests of people and organizations who would zealously safeguard the well-being of all animals … with the equally significant interest of those who make their living in animal husbandry” and contribute to the food supply, wrote Justice Helen Hoens for a unanimous court.
Farm Sanctuary is calling the decision a “This is a major victory for farm animals.” However, Ed Wengryn, a spokesman for the New Jersey Farm Bureau, said, “It actually is a good ruling for us. The court upheld the right of the (Agriculture) Department to use their expertise for developing the rules and regulations.”
While I’m glad the current regulations were upheld, it concerns me that the judges asked the Agriculture Department to question practices that have been scientifically developed to consider farm animal welfare.
For more information read the Daily Record article.