Maine Governor John Baldacci has signed into law 7 MRSA §4020 and 17 MRSA §1039 which make it illegal to confine pregnant sows in gestation crates and tie veal calves into small enclosures for a majority of the day.
The new law prohibits any person from tethering or confining a pregnant sow or veal calf "for all or the majority of a day in a manner that prevents the animal from….[l]ying down, standing up and fully extending the animal’s limbs; and …[t]urning around freely." "Turning around freely" means being able to turn "in a complete circle without any impediment, including a tether, and without touching the side of an enclosure".
There are exceptions for animals that are the subject of scientific or agricultural research; undergoing veterinary treatment and care; being transported; at a rodeo exhibition or state or county fair or 4-H or similar exhibition; or being slaughtered according to law. There is also an exception for sows during the 7-day period prior to the sow’s expected date of giving birth.
There can be criminal and civil penalties for violations.
Maine now joins Colorado and Arizona in banning these cruel practices. California with its successful Prop 2 will ban cruel confinement for egg laying hens as well. Oregon and Florida ban cruel confinement of pregnant sows.
For more on the cruelty of these practices, go here.
The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2011.