State Legislation

State Legislation

At Farm Sanctuary, we spend our lives with farm animals, and we know them as individuals. We would no more eat a chicken or a pig than we would eat a kitten or a puppy. We also recognize that legislation can lessen the suffering of millions — or even billions — of animals with one bill.

Farm Sanctuary works hard both to pass good state legislation and to stop bad state legislation. Because state legislative sessions are generally fairly brief, and because we coordinate activities on bills with other organizations, we generally do not post state legislative updates here, but instead we ask that you please make sure we have your email address and postal address (so we know what state you’re in), and we will alert you to any future legislation that affects farm animals in your state.

Animal Protection Legislation History

Since Farm Sanctuary partnered with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida on the first state ban on a factory farming practice — the ban on gestation crates in Florida in 2002 — momentum has spread to get rid of some of the worst abuses of farm animals.

In 2004, we led the charge to ban both the production and sale of foie gras in California. Then in 2006, again partnering with HSUS, we followed our landslide Florida victory with a ban on both gestation and veal crates in Arizona. The year 2008 was our biggest challenge yet, working to ban cruel confinement systems in California, the country’s top agricultural state. Working with HSUS, we banned veal and gestation crates, and battery cages, and the measure passed with the most affirmative votes of any other citizen initiative in California history.

Since that time, six more states have banned gestation crates (Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Ohio, and Rhode Island), five more have banned veal crates (Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Maine, and Rhode Island), and one has banned battery cages (Michigan).

Anti-Animal Legislation

Unfortunately, there has also been an outpouring of anti-animal bills, called “Ag Gag” or “whistleblower suppression” bills. These bills are designed to criminalize undercover investigations. The factory farmers’ response to exposés showing illegal abuse of animals and workers has been to outlaw the investigations rather than to improve practices. In 2011, a large coalition of animal protection, first amendment, workers’ rights, and environmental groups defeated these laws in Florida, Minnesota, Iowa, and New York. Since that time, these bills have been coming fast and furious, and while we’re winning most of our battles, we have lost some (Missouri, Iowa, Utah, and Idaho). The bills in Utah and Idaho are the subject of lawsuits, and we are a plaintiff in the Idaho suit.