Republican Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed a politically charged bill that would have banned the use of certain pig cages in his state, a move many observers see as aimed at appeasing Iowa voters ahead of a potential 2016 presidential run.
In a veto message issued Friday, Christie called the bill opposing gestation crates a "solution in search of a problem."
"It is a political movement masquerading as substantive policy," he said.
The crates, which are so small that pregnant pigs can't turn around in them, have been criticized by animal welfare activists as cruel. Pigs can spend years in them, and advocates say they don't want their use to spread.
The bill had overwhelming support from Republican and Democratic state lawmakers but would have had little to no impact in New Jersey, whose roughly 300 pig farms don't regularly use the crates.
But the crates are widespread in Iowa, which is home to millions of pigs and the nation's first presidential nominating caucuses. Christie has invested significant time building relationships in Iowa, campaigning on behalf of its Republican governor, Terry Branstad, who had urged him to squash the bill.