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Michigan, US: new welfare law ordains pen sizes for sows

The law results from extensive negotiations between humane and agricultural groups. It requires that certain farm animals have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs, rather than being confined in tiny cages.

Animal welfare groups, including the Michigan Humane Society, The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary, applauded Governor Granholm for signing the bill and lawmakers, agricultural groups, and environmental groups for supporting the measure.

The bill bans gestation crates for breeding sows, veal crates for calves and battery cages for laying hens. Michigan has a large industry in laying hens, pig production and veal calves. Pig and layer hen farms will have ten years to comply with the regulations, veal calf farms will have three years.

The regulations have dispensations for research, veterinary treatment, transportation, at rodeos and state fairs, and during slaughter. Also exempt are breeding sows within seven days of expected birth.

Related websites
• Report: Welfare Issues with Gestation Crates for Pregnant Sows (pdf)


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