Filed Under: Livestock Meat

The Straw that Broke the Sow’s Back

Florida politicians, weary of the sort of election-day fiascos that made their state a laughingstock, have decided to clean up their act. We’re not talking about pregnant chads. It’s the pregnant pigs that are getting all the attention.

A massive 2002 animal-rights petition drive, which created a niche for gestating sows in the Florida Constitution, is apparently still a sore spot in the Sunshine State. Now lawmakers want to make it tougher for petitions to qualify for the ballot.

“The pregnant pig issue was the straw that broke the camel’s back for most of us,” said state Senate President Jim King (R-Jacksonville).

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has weighed in as well. The Orlando Sentinel writes: “Bush warns that pregnant pigs might have been just the start on this issue. During the campaign, national animal rights groups spent more than $1 million to help just a handful of sows, and they may now push to broaden the restrictions on farmers.” Early last month, Bush told the Associated Press: “The bottom line is that pregnant pigs don’t belong in our state constitution.

The animal-rights lunatic fringe is having none of this. “Enacting some sort of law in Tallahassee to undermine the will of the voters would be a big mistake,” warns Gene Bauston, whose extremist Farm Sanctuary group provided more cash than any other organization in support of last year’s hog initiative.

Farm Sanctuary, you may remember, was convicted of 210 counts of election fraud in connection with the $465,000 it illegally trucked into Florida during the 2002 election cycle. The group even paid a $50,000 fine. The Orlando Sentinel seems to have already forgotten this, but we doubt America’s pork farmers have such a selective memory.

Senator King put it all in perspective last week in The Tallahassee Democrat: “I went to the proponents and asked why, and they said, ‘Well, we want the sows to be able to turn around,’ and my first thought was, ‘To see what?’ Is it any different for a pig, looking behind or looking forward?”

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