News comes from New Jersey that animal rights group Farm Sanctuary is lobbying hard for a statewide law that would outlaw the most commonly employed veal production methods. There’s a chance that the measure could pass as early as this week, even though Farm Sanctuary and its leader Gene Bauston (according to senior veterinarian Dr. Anne Pierok at the New Jersey Department of Animal Health) have "admitted in testimony that they don’t know of the existence of any commercial veal operations in the state."
So why would Farm Sanctuary expend political capital to ban a form of animal husbandry in a state where nobody is practicing it? For the same reason it illegally funneled over $465,000 into Florida last year to outlaw "gestation crates" used by only a few pork farmers in that state. (Farm Sanctuary paid a $50,000 fine after election day.) As in Florida, the current New Jersey bill is just a phony "trial balloon" — an attempt to get an animal-rights law on the books somewhere, in order to legitimize subsequent battles in states where the stakes are higher.
In Florida last year, the stakes were practically nonexistent, although two farmers were forced to slaughter their animals due to the cost of complying with the new law. Now, however, the Humane Society of the United States is organizing legislation and ballot measures to outlaw pork farming in Iowa — a state where raising pigs adds over $2 billion to the economy and employs more than 87,000 people.
In New Jersey, Dr. Pierok is concerned — as are experts from Rutgers University and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture — that "not only is the bill unnecessary, but some aspects of it promoted by animal rights activists would actually be harmful to the animals."
Animal care experts should be concerned, especially since New Jersey governor James McGreevey recently unveiled an "animal welfare task force" packed with notorious animal rights zealots — including representatives from the Humane Society of the United States.