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.