Oregon's Governor Signs Gestation-sow Crate Ban into Law

Add Oregon to the states that will no longer allow the use of gestation-sow  crates in pork production systems. As with the situation in Florida, Oregon has a minor almost non-existent pork production sector. Of course, Arizona also has a ban it's production sector is slightly larger and more consolidated than the other states.

Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski signed legislation prohibiting gestation-sow crates on Thursday. This action makes Oregon the first U.S. state to eliminate gestation-sow crates via state legislative action. Arizona and Florida passed its measures through voter/ballot initiatives.

The Oregon measure, S.B. 694, was presented by state Senator Ginny Burdick (D). It takes effect in 2013, providing a six-year transition period. There are about 4,000 breeding sows in Oregon.

The Humane Society of the United States drove the effort. "The measure sends a strong message to the agribusiness industry that gestation crate confinement is simply too cruel and inhumane for anyone to support," states Kelly Peterson, HSUS Oregon state director.

"Thanks to state lawmakers, Oregon will not be a destination site for enormous hog factory farms, which are always accompanied by the inhumane treatment of the animals and massive animal waste problems that threaten water supplies and the health of nearby communities," adds Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and chief executive officer.

The Oregon House approved the bill by a vote of 32  to 25, with the Senate passing it  20 to 9.

In the U.S. Congress, Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-4) has introduced a similar bill H.R. 1726, called the Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act. It would require federal food programs to purchase meat, dairy and egg products only from suppliers that meet specific animal welfare standards, including no gestation crates.