The stars, who all have personal connections to New Jersey, have joined forces with actors Paul Wesley, Taissa Farmiga and Cristin Milioti, as well as comedians Chelsea Handler and Bill Maher, to sign an open letter supporting the Animal Legal Defense Fund campaign, urging politicians to back two bills recently introduced by Senator Vin Gopal and Assemblyman Raj Mukherj, aiming to end the intensive confinement of mother pigs and calves across the state.
The letter reads, "Gestation crates and veal crates are inherently cruel. Both include severely restricting the animal's movement, to the point of virtual immobilization, which leads to highly stressful conditions that induces physical and psychological illness - and great suffering."
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how intensive confinement of mass numbers of animals in cramped spaces can create a breeding ground for zoonotic disease," it continues. "Ensuring that the cruel confinement of mother pigs and baby calves is prohibited in New Jersey is a matter of animal cruelty prevention and a proactive step in safeguarding public safety."
"The Vampire Diaries" star Wesley adds, "In gestation crates, mother pigs are nearly immobilized, unable to even turn around or stretch their legs. Intensively confining these sensitive, intelligent animals is simply cruel. New Jersey must outlaw the extreme confinement of mother pigs and calves used for veal."
Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells notes the use of such crates has already been banned in the European Union and Canada, while officials in 10 U.S. states have outlawed gestation crates, and nine have prohibited veal crates.
Wells states, "Coupled with increasing demand by consumers for increased compassion and transparency in how farmed animals are raised, now is the time for New Jersey to ban the crates."
A full senate vote is currently being arranged to take place on June 1.