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Governor Chris Christie recently vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of swine gestation crates in New Jersey. Clearly with a swine population of around 9,000, it would not seem to be a priority issue in New Jersey. Pundits correctly surmised his focus was more likely on Iowa with the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus and 20 million hogs in a $7 billion industry.

Whatever the political motivation of Governor Christie, punditry takes as a matter of fact allegations that gestation crates are cruel without any critical analysis in follow-the-leader mode.

In the rationale of the we-know-best gentry an entrepreneur/business person/capitalist equals bad, and animal mistreatment equals bad; therefore business people mistreat animals. Subscribers to this logic have little desire to check the validity of their train of assumptions.

Let’s accept the premise that people in animal husbandry have no concern for the well-being of their animals and are only motivated by profit—a supposition I would challenge. Where does the profit motive lead livestock producers?

Healthier, content, well cared for animals are more productive, have less need for treatment and lower death rates all of which translate into higher profits. Mistreating animals costs money. Hog farms that provide a clean, healthy environment survive; those that don’t go broke.

As a former Iowa hog farmer we converted to gestation crates. Gestation crates separate sows (female pigs) from each other during the 114-day gestation period. Herd health can be controlled in this environment by assuring each sow receives 4-5 pounds of feed per day individually determined by her body condition.

Prior to the use of crates gestating sows were housed together in a pen. Inside or outside, dominant sows would eat 10 pounds per day and timid sows would get little and deteriorate health-wise. Out of condition overweight and frail sows would be sent prematurely to packing plants. Fights among sows for feed or social reasons were common with the loser or both cut up badly. We found, with crates productivity increased and death rates plummeted to near zero. Although pigs can’t speak, anyone who is around these animals knows sows in crates are much healthier and more content.

Yet to be determined, does Governor Christie have the wherewithal to buck the we-know-best gentry when facts don’t support their narrative? Or, is he but another politician skilled in quickly bending to the pigs who squeal the loudest?

W C (Bill) Augustine is the author of Atlas Rising and the soon to be released sequel, “For the Common Good.”


2 Responses

  1. Lucy

    [..YouTube..] No printers and no phone. I can cocnnet via DCHP without any issues, but assigning a Static IP is an issue. Do you know of any way that I can reset all network cocnnetions to default in Windows 7 and try again from fresh in case there are any issues.Thanks for the reply by the way.


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