ASSEMBLY AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 1921

 

with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:MARCH 14, 2013

 

††††† The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee reports favorably and with committee amendments Senate Bill No. 1921.

††††† This bill, as amended, establishes the animal cruelty offense of cruel confinement of a gestating sow as a disorderly persons offense.† The bill, as amended, defines cruel confinement of a gestating sow as crating, confining, or tethering a gestating sow kept on the farm in a manner that prevents the gestating sow from being able to turn around freely (as defined in the bill), lie down, stand up, or fully extend its limbs (as also defined in the bill). The bill, as amended, exempts the use of farrowing crates as an animal cruelty offense.† Farrowing crates, as defined in the amended bill, are enclosures or enclosing devices commonly used with gestating sows to protect piglets from injury during the birthing process and afterwards while nursing.

††††† The bill, as amended, specifies that an owner or operator of a farm may commit this offense, personally and directly, or indirectly through directions or instructions to a contractor, consultant or employee of the owner or operator or the farm, but that a contractor, consultant, or employee, whether following such directions or instructions or not, would not be guilty of the offense.† In addition to any other penalties applicable pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, the bill provides that a violator would be fined for each offense not less than $250 nor more than $1,000, or be imprisoned for a term of not more than six months, or both, and that each gestating sow that is cruelly confined would be a separate and distinct offense.

††††† The bill, as amended, exempts from consideration as cruel confinement of a gestating sow, confinement for the purposes of:

††††† 1)†† medical research;

††††† 2)†† veterinary examinations, testing, individual treatment, or an operation, or other veterinary procedures;

††††† 3)†† transportation of the animal;

††††† 4)†† an exhibition or educational program, including, but not necessarily limited to, a 4-H program, county or State fair, or rodeo;

††††† 5)†† animal husbandry, provided the confinement is temporary and for no more than eight hours in any 24-hour period;

††††† 6)†† humane slaughtering of the animal in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations concerning the slaughter of animals; and

††††† 7)†† proper care of the animal during the 10-day period prior to the expected date of the animal giving birth.

††††† Finally, the bill, as amended, specifies that:

††††† 1)†† none of the billís provisions supersede other laws, rules or regulations protecting animal welfare, or abridge the authority of any county or municipality to adopt or enact ordinances, resolutions, rules or regulations that are more stringent than State or federal laws; and

††††† 2)†† it is not an affirmative defense to an alleged violation of this bill that the gestating sow is domestic livestock, or was kept as part of an agricultural operation or in accordance with customary animal husbandry or farming practices.

††††† As reported by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, this amended bill is identical to Assembly Bill No. 3250 (1R) as reported by the committee on March 14, 2013.

 

COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS

††††† The committee amendments:

††††† 1) exempt the use of farrowing crates as an offense under the bill;

††††† 2) clarify that a contractor, consultant, or employee cannot be guilty of the offense under the bill;

††††† 3) extend the animal husbandry confinement exemption from six hours to no more than eight hours in any 24-hour period;

††††† 4) extend the proper care exemption from seven to 10 days prior to the expected date of the animal giving birth;

††††† 5) extend the effective date of the bill to December 31, 2018; and

††††† 6) make technical and clarifying amendments.