Poll: NJ Residents Oppose Cruel Farm Industry
by Sherry Morse
A new poll conducted by the Eagleton Institute
of Politics at Rutgers University shows widespread opposition
to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's (NJDA) proposed
standards for the humane treatment of farm animals.
The poll of 801 New Jersey residents found
that most residents agreed with the NJDA's stated definition
of humane as meaning "being marked by compassion, sympathy
and consideration for the welfare of animals."
However, the residents did not think that
the farming practices deemed humane by the NJDA actually fulfill
Of those surveyed, 83% said it is cruel to
confine calves and pigs to two-foot wide crates. The NJDA
standards, however, allow this practice.
The NJDA standards also allow chickens to
be starved for two weeks to manipulate their egg laying cycles;
81% of those surveyed judged this practice to be cruel.
The Eagleton poll found that most survey respondents
were unaware of the details of specific issues regarding the
regulations proposed by the NJDA and were also unfamiliar
with the practices of animal husbandry.
However, when confronted with questions about
farm practices and their regulation, the respondents clearly
expressed their feelings of concern about the welfare of animals
When the NJDA first published the proposed
standards in May of 2003, over 6000 comments opposing the
standards and/or expressing concern about them were received
by the department.
Gene Bauston, president of Farm Sanctuary,
a farm animal advocacy organization, commented, "New Jersey
can lead the nation in preventing inhumane factory farming
"Unfortunately, the draft standards
produced by the (NJDA) fail to meet their legislative mandate
and are completely out of line with societal values," Bauston
The Eagleton poll clearly showed that most
survey respondents believe that farm animals should be treated
humanely, and that most respondents supported on principle
the idea that state government should regulate the treatment
of farm animals.
© 2003 Animal News Center, Inc.