Florida’s Constitutional Pig-Pen

In the upcoming issue of The Weekly Standard, noted author Wesley J. Smith takes stock of Florida’s upcoming hog-farming ballot battle. The state’s voters will be asked in November whether or not to extend certain rights to pigs.

At issue is the use of “gestation crates,” which studies have shown to result in higher piglet birth and survival rates. Naturally, hog farmers want to keep the technology in place. And animal-rights zealots are shouting loudly for a constitutional amendment in Florida to do away with them.

“This is a perfectly legitimate subject for public debate, of course,” writes Smith, “but not in a constitutional context” [emphasis in the original]. Granting any constitutional rights to pregnant pigs, he says, “would definitely be a first step on the proverbial thousand-mile journey” toward “expanding coverage of the Bill of Rights to all animals.”

The end goal, Smith concludes, is “to blur the moral distinction between human and animal life.” But by voting “no,” Floridians “can send the important message that constitutions are for humans, not pigs.”

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