Florida voters give factory hog farms the boot

Thursday, Nov. 11, 2002, Defenders Rural Updates via CropChoice news: On Tuesday, November 5th, Florida voters effectively curtailed the expansion of some factory farms into their state by approving a landmark measure outlawing the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows. Gestation crates are two foot wide metal enclosures where pregnant female pigs at factory farms are kept. Factory farmed sows endure as many as ten pregnancies in gestation crates, which are so small the sows cannot turn around. This important victory will prevent industrial hog factories that use gestation crates from ever moving into the state. The measure will have little or no effect on Florida's existing hog farmers, as no large-scale industrial operations are currently located in the state. Instead, passage will prevent the harm to rural communities and to the environment that industrial hog operations bring with them. The ban is a boon to the state's wildlife, which is critically important because Florida is home to 117 species that are considered threatened, endangered, or of special concern, the third highest concentration of such species in any state.