My Plight for Pigs
My passion for animals and food safety led me to take a stand for pigs confined in gestation crates and suffering in factory farms.
In 2014, I embarked on an activism cause for factory farmed pigs. At that time, a bill intended to ban the use of pig gestation crates in the Garden State was circulating through the New Jersey State Legislature. Gestation Crates are small cages barely big enough to contain a fully grown sow; the pig is not even able to turn around inside the crates! Pigs are confined inside the crate for their entire lives, until they are slaughtered. It is torture. Even more, the pigs live in their own waste and filth, creating unsanitary conditions for the pig, and disease. Such conditions also jeopardize the safety of the food source intended for human consumption. Commercial factory farming use of gestation crates is a cruel, inhumane and unnecessary torture for pigs. Natural, normal, free roaming pig farming is possible. Many good farmers raise pigs in natural conditions, and have been doing so for hundreds of years.
At that time, in 2014, Chris Christie was the NJ Governor. He had previously vetoed the pig bill and a second attempt to pass the legislation was being made. I attended a Governor Christie Town Hall meeting in Sayreville, New Jersey, and was fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Christie about his position on the gestation crates. Christie assured me he would be willing to consider any new information provided to him. I was thrilled again when my question was picked up in the news and featured in an article by NJ Star Ledger media, "Christie holds tame Sayreville Town Hall, talks pot and animal rights."
With Christie willing to consider new information on the pig issue, I set out on a four month mission to research, call pig farmers for interviews, read and learn about pig farming, plus, NJ pig farming history, and all health and safety concerns. Next, I assembled a binder filled with information and evidence related to pig farming, and hand delivered it to the Governor's office at the NJ State House in Trenton.
In addition to the binder, I made homemade signs in support of the pigs and the NJ bill to ban gestation crates. I also compiled hundreds of NJ residents signatures on cards showing support for the bill and pigs. I even got inside a pig crate myself while attending a pig rally in Trenton!
Friends and colleagues all showed support for the pig cause. A backstage caterer at work decorated the entire buffet with pink pigs! And a special piggie birthday cake was provided to celebrate my birthday!
I attended pig rallies at the NJ State House, met with NJ State Senator Ray Lesniak, the Senator who introduced the pig bill, and even made the NJTV news! It was at my request they identify me as a "pig activist," as opposed to pig advocate. I wanted ACTION: the pig crates banned!
I also submitted a Letter-to-the Editor in my local Burlington County Times newspaper. I was pleased it was published!
Despite that the New Jersey pig bill made national, even international headlines + had 92% bipartisan NJ voter support + overwhelmingly passed the NJ State Legislature, and was even featured twice on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, unfortunately, the day after Thanksgiving in 2014, on Black Friday, Governor Christie vetoed the pig bill. He did so after the Governor of Iowa asked him to veto the NJ bill. Christie wanted to run for President of the United States in 2016, and Iowa, a state with over 20 million pigs confined in gestation crates, was the first state in the primary election. Christie complied with the request of the Iowa Governor, to the detriment of NJ voters and pigs.
Distraught, when February 2015 rolled around and Hallmark produced a "Cupig" angel pig series for Valentine's Day, I could not resist the urge to utilize the singing Hallmark Cupig card and stuffed character to voice my opinion in a short YouTube video:
Happy Valentine Governor Christie
When the 2016 presidential primary elections finally rolled around, not only did Christie get a mere 2% of votes in Iowa, he was also forced to drop out of the race after he performed poorly in the second primary election held in New Hampshire. BUT, not before a PIG escaped from its home and showed up at a New Hampshire polling location that day! Here’s a link to just one report about that karma event, an ABC News report by Evan McMurry, “Massive Pig Corralled at New Hampshire Polling Station.”
Still, a new pig bill has been introduced in New Jersey. A new Governor is in office. Support for the bill remains strong, however, political action in the state legislature remains slow. Hopefully, with persistence, New Jersey will ban the use of cruel gestation crates in the state, and all pigs will have the opportunity to walk, turn-around, scratch, and live freely as nature intended. Godspeed