The First Controversy of Chris Christie's 2016 Presidential Campaign: Tortured Food

Governor Chris Christie has a problem. The vast majority of Americans don't want to eat tortured animals. No, the governor of the eleventh most populous state in America likely does not want to torture animals... but he has a problem, a political problem. The politics of his presidential ambitions conflict with the politics of the state he was elected to represent.

The problem spawns from (a pig torture device called) a gestation crate. After a female pig is artificially inseminated, she is put into a narrow crate for the duration of her four-month pregnancy. The crate is so small that she is unable to move forwards, backwards or even turn around. During the reproductive period of her life, she will likely spend 2.5 years unable to move. To pigs that are active, naturally curious, intelligent, sentient beings, the treatment is akin to torture. Nine states have enacted laws to ban the crates.

New Jersey should be the tenth state to ban this barbaric practice. In bipartisan agreement, both the State General Assembly and the State Senate overwhelmingly voted to ban gestation crates (60-5 and 29-4 respectively). According to PolitickerNJ, gestation crates are not currently even used by New Jersey farmers, making the state politics easy. Ban an instrument of torture that few, if any, New Jerseyans actually use.

Today, however, we are not celebrating the progress of New Jersey because Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill. Yes vetoed against the will of the vast bipartisan majority of the House and Senate, and even though no one in New Jersey actually uses the crates.

It seems that Governor Christie overturned the will of the people of New Jersey to protect the interests of a group of people in another state one thousand miles away: Iowa.

Iowa, along with New Hampshire, is the first state in the union to vote in the presidential primaries giving it outsize importance to many presidential hopefuls. Iowa, unlike New Jersey, has many large industrial animal factories that employ the use of gestation crates housing around 20 million pigs at any one time, according to 2011 data.

This is Governor Christie's problem: Serve current constituents who want to ban gestation crates or keep options open to campaigning in Iowa. The millions of pigs tortured every year aren't having a good time of it either.

Governor Christie is in a pickle, but there is actually a solution to this mess. The New Jersey legislature can serve the will of the people and eliminate a political problem for the Governor by overriding the veto with a two-thirds majority vote in each House. (27 votes in the Senate, 54 votes in the General Assembly)

The Governor's veto has already received the attention of national and statewide animal welfare and food safety groups, threatening to destroy his presidential campaign before it officially begins. This is a critical moment for patriotic New Jerseyans to save Governor Christie's presidential campaign.

New Jerseyans must call their legislators and demand a veto override on Senate bill S1921/Assembly bill A3250.

Do it for the pigs. Or do it for Chris Christie.

Check out this must-see digital creation that lets you imagine the point of view of a pig in a gestation crate: