Rhode Island lawmakers have enacted legislation making illegal the extreme confinement of breeding pigs and veal calfs in small crates -- in other words, gestation crates.

The move also prohibits cattle tail docking, which is the partial amputation of a cow's tail.

The Humane Society's CEO Wayne Pacelle heralded the bill in a release as a message "loud and clear that inhumane factory farming practices simply aren’t sustainable and should be banned." The bill makes Rhode Island the ninth state to ban gestation crates for pigs, the seventh for calves and the third to ban cattle tail docking. Other entities, including big-name businesses like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and others, have also pledged to help stop the practice by refusing meat from suppliers who employ it.

However, Rhode Island's NPR station notes that "no farmer in Rhode Island uses such crates to raise pigs or veal," which suggests the measure is more of a statement than an action with real consequences. Supporters of the bill believe, however, that it will prevent factory farms from ever adopting the practice.

Also on HuffPost:

Foods Companies That Have Taken Steps To Eliminate Gestation Crates
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  • Dunkin' Donuts

    In September, Dunkin' Donuts announced that it plans to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/dunkin-donuts-cage-free-eggs-gestation_n_1916260.html?1348678200" target="_hplink">eliminate all gestation crates</a>, but has not set a timeline. It is also moving toward cage-free eggs.

  • McDonald's

    At the end of May, the country's leading hamburger chain by sales announced a plan to eliminate its suppliers' use of gestation crates by 2022.

  • Denny's

    On May 15, Denny's announced it would work with its suppliers to end the use of gestation crates for its pork products.

  • Safeway

    In May, Safeway -- the country's second-largest grocery chain -- said it plans to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120507/us-safeway-humane-pork/" target="_hplink">stop buying meat</a> from suppliers that use gestation crates.

  • Burger King

    On April 23, Burger King pledged to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/burger-king-gestation-crates_n_1451703.html" target="_hplink">eliminate the use of pork from pigs raised in crates by 2017</a>. The company also pledged to offer entirely cage-free eggs by 2017.

  • Wendy's

    In March, Wendy's announced it would work with its U.S. and Canadian pork suppliers to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/wendys-animal-treatment_n_1375724.html" target="_hplink">phase out the use of gestation crates</a>.

  • Compass Group

    Also in March, Compass Group announced it would <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/going_green/2012/03/compass-group-will-end-contracts-with.html" target="_hplink">phase out the use of meat from pigs raised in gestation crates</a> by 2017. Compass Group runs dining operations at about 10,000 companies, hospitals, senior living centers, schools, colleges and universities, making it the largest food service company in the world.

  • McDonald's

    McDonald's also announced in February its <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/mcdonalds-gestation-crates_n_1275942.html" target="_hplink">plan to stop using meat from pig raised in the crates</a> by 2017.

  • Hormel, the maker of products like Spam, announced in February it <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/02/hormel-gestation-crates_n_1249707.html" target="_hplink">pledges to eliminate most gestation crates by 2017</a>.

  • Bon Appétit Management Company

    Also in February, Bon Appetit announced it would <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-bon-appetit-gestation-crates-20120220,0,7675759.story" target="_hplink">stop buying pork from providers who use gestation cates</a>. Bon Appetit runs more than 400 cafes across 31 states.

  • Smithfield Foods

    Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, announced late last year it would <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/smithfield-gestation-crates_n_1136567.html" target="_hplink">end its practice of using gestation crates</a> for pregnant hogs by 2017.

  • Oscar Mayer

    In early July, Oscar Mayer pledged to source its pork from suppliers that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/oscar-mayer-gestation-crates_n_1658670.html" target="_hplink">no longer use gestation crates</a>. Oscar Mayer is owned by Kraft Foods.

  • Sysco

    On July 23, Sysco <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/sysco-gestation-crates_n_1698971.html?1343152570" target="_hplink">pledged to work with its producers to stop the use of gestation crates</a>. Sysco is the world's largest broadline food distributor.