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Poll: NJ Residents Oppose Cruel Farm Industry Standards

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 this definition.

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 on farms.

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 practices."

"Unfortunately, the draft standards produced by the (NJDA) fail to meet their legislative mandate and are completely out of line with societal values," Bauston added.

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.

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