Imagine living in a space so small you cannot outstretch your arms or move more than a step forward or back. Imagine being confined to that space every day.
That is the life of some pigs kept in small cages, called gestation crates, used to keep them in place during breeding.
The practice is the very definition of cruelty and has been banned in nine states. Even major corporations whose focus is satisfying their shareholders rather than animal lovers plan to eliminate the practice.
Why then would Gov. Chris Christie veto a ban on the use of gestation crates in New Jersey?
In a statement, Christie offered the argument that it was up to New Jersey's Board of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture to establish "the proper balancing of humane treatment of gestation pigs with the interests of farmers whose livelihood depends on their ability to properly manage their livestock."
But the bill had widespread, bipartisan support. It was approved by votes of 60-5 in the Assembly and 29-4 in the Senate, which makes Christie's veto a bit of a puzzle.
Some critics think it's all about his presidential aspirations, which makes sense. Virtually everything Christie does these days is about the 2016 presidential race. And, you see, the first key state in the Republican presidential primary race is Iowa, which happens to be home to the National Pork Producers Council, a lobbying group that does not support the ban on gestation crates.
"Why wouldn't the governor sign legislation that is overwhelmingly approved by members of his own party?" state Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, said. "There is only one logical answer: Iowa. It's easy enough to put two and two together to get four."
Whatever the governor's motives, let's hope the Legislature can do something it has yet to do - stand up and override his veto.
The Humane Society of the United States has even launched a television ad campaign with images of the confined animals in hopes of moving New Jersey residents to support the ban.
In the end, the issue is not a political one or even an economic one; it is simply about right and wrong. German philosopher Immanuel Kant put it simply:
"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."