Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5416

Title:

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A LIVESTOCK CARE STANDARDS ADVISORY COUNCIL

Vote Date:

3/21/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/17/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill establishes a council that will report to the Commissioner of Agriculture on the care and handling of livestock. The group will also report to the General Assembly's Environment Committee on whether there is a need to regulate the use of tethering or confining of gestating sows.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

The new language removed a section of the bill that would have banned the use of gestation crates, as they are not in use in Connecticut.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Connecticut Farm Bureau, Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director:

Farmers care about the health and well-being of their animals, and the organization supports an advisory council, which would provide a way to solicit opinions from a wide range of experts. Talmage also feels the advisory council is best suited to weigh in on gestation crates, which are not used in Connecticut.

Charles Rowland, Rowland Farm, LLC:

While not used on his farm, Mr. Rowland of Oxford states that gestation stalls are a humane option to control often aggressive and dominant sows.

Jonathan Secchiaroli of Watertown:

A fourth-generation pig farmer, Mr. Secchiaroli does not use gestation crates but sees them as a humane method of housing designed to make pregnant pigs (sows) comfortable in certain situations.

Don Tuller, President of Connecticut Farm Bureau Association:

Mr. Tuller supports a Livestock Advisory Council. Gestation crates are not routinely used in the state and, if ever used, only when an animal needs to be temporarily separated from her pen mates due to injury, illness, etc.

National Pork Producers:

Farmers are committed to constant improvement and practices that benefit both the consumer and animals. Pig farming has changed dramatically in the last 50 years Group housing has largely been abandoned due to issues of aggression and competition. More than 75 percent of pigs raised in the United States are raised with use of gestation stalls. Many factors go into this decision and removing their use would hinder the farmers' ability to properly care for livestock.

Dr. Thomas Hoagland

Keeping sows in stalls is done for individual care and feeding. Housing them in groups can result in fights and other problems among animals. Banning their use could have unintended consequences such as injuries among farm workers, putting small farms out of business, increased aggression among sows, less productivity and unclean conditions.

Also supporting gestation stalls as a humane option in certain cases:

Lisa D. Colby of Colby Farm, Newburyport, MA

SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Neil and Annie Hornish:

The couple believes an advisory council is un-necessary and supported the immediate ban on gestation crates. They state that crates are only 2 feet by 7 feet, prohibiting the movement of pregnant sows and creating severe physical and mental trauma. Banning the crates before they are used in the state would protect family farms from potential factory farming operations.

Humane Society of the United States:

The society supports the complete ban on gestation crates to promote local, sustainable farms and protect them from factory farm competition in Connecticut. The society suggests amending the cruelty statutes to “prohibit confinement of sows during gestation in a manner that prevents them from turning around freely, lying down, standing up or even fully extending their limbs.” The approximate 2' by 7' crates are so small the animals cannot turn around and as a result they suffer mentally and physically. Nine states and the European Union have passed legislation outlawing their use.

In her separate testimony, Annie Hornish, Connecticut State Director, also notes that a May 2013 poll showed that 91 percent of state voters supporter the ban of the crates. Additionally many corporations are banning the use of gestation crates in their supply chain. Both Smithfield Food and Hormel Foods have vowed to end the practice.

In another document, The Humane Society asserts that the proposed language of the livestock council be revised, particularly with regard to the council members, which they recommend include:

(1) The Connecticut State Veterinarian, as defined in section 22-26f, or his or her designee;

(2) A Connecticut-based veterinarian who is a member of The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, or his or her designee;

(3) A representative from the Connecticut Farm Bureau, or his or her designee;

(4) A Connecticut-based livestock or poultry farmer who maintains a current membership in a humane certification program, including but not limited to Global Animal Partnership's 5-Step Program, Certified Humane, or Animal Welfare Approved;

(5) A representative from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, or his or her designee;

(6) A representative from the national nonprofit animal welfare entity The Humane Society of the United States, or his or her designee;

(7) A representative from CT NOFA (the Connecticut Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association), or his or her designee.

Stephanie Scavelli, District Leader, Humane Society of the United States:

Gestation crates are a disturbing practice used by producers under financial pressure to “get big or get out.” They should be kept out of Connecticut to protect the growing industry of small, family farms. At a recent conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association Connecticut, 56 citizens, farms and organizations supported a ban.

Rep. Fred Camillo:

Rep. Camillo supports the ban on gestation crates to ensure that the cruel practice of lifetime or near lifetime confinement does not happen in Connecticut. Already more than 60 corporations have discounted the “use” among their food suppliers.

Those supporting an immediate and complete ban on gestation crates:

Alexandra Ivey; Andrew Siciliano; Ann Marie Sudarsky, East Hartford; Anthony and Caitlin Sorge; Bo Jarnstedt; Christine Pond, Prospect; Debby McKeown, Seymour; Dorothy J. Rich of Norwalk; Ellen Goldfarb of Guilford; Helen Adams; Jack Kealey; Jamila Hadj Salem, Stafford Springs; Jasmine Caruk; Julia Caruk; Karen Laski, Manchester; Lauren Hernandez, Stratford; Linda Bruno, Greenwich; Lynn Printy and Oscar Janssen, Newtown; Martina Steed; Melissa Shapiro, DVM; Missy Brayton; Natalie Jarnstedt, Greenwich; Noreen Mola, Redding; Pam Ross, Norwalk; Peter Hermann, West Hartford; Rebecca Pond; Rita Chu; Rosamund Downing, Pawcatuck; Selena Kuo; Sherrill Jones; Shirley McCarthy; Steve McClenning; Susan B. Linker, Our Companions Animal Rescue; Tim Saimond; Toni Rishar; Yale Animal Welfare Alliance; Ava Fiore, Enfield; Connecticut Votes for Animals; Ellen and Martin Linker, Westport; Garrett Sullivan, East Haven; Henry and Ingrid Casas, New Milford; Henry Petrofsky, Our Companions Animal Rescue; Jack Lotko; Jane Ciarlone; Jo Ann Friedlander, Stamford; Judy Spencer Henderson, South Windsor, Roberta Pisano, Wallingford; Julie Lewin, Guilford; Kimberlee, Windsor Locks; Linda Bruno, Greenwich; Linda R. Coleman; Lisa Haut, New Haven; Martha Whitney; Megan Rudne Hoffecker; Michael A. Barile; Nancy Hermann, Windsor; Nicole Bruck; Paige Randall; Patricia A. Tucciarone; Peter Hood; Renie Schmidt, Cos Cob; Ron DeGray; Sheriden and James Franklin; Sherry Wernicke, Riverside; Sonia Lefrancois; Sue Smith; Tina and Raul Santiago; Valerie Angeli, New Hartford; West Haven High School Humane Club

Reported by: John Fitts

Date: 04/02/2014