Castration of livestock without use of anesthetic is one practice at the center of an animal-cruelty lawsuit in New Jersey by activist groups. The Humane Society of the U.S. and Farm Sanctuary claim New Jersey's Department of Ag failed to establish humane standards for farm animals as required by a law implemented in that state in 2004. Reuters reports the groups hope the lawsuit might help set national standards for the treatment of livestock.

New Jersey is the only state requiring officials to set humane standards for the treatment of farm animals. Lawyers for the groups told a judicial panel that the state bowed to industry interests by allowing inhumane methods to persist on the grounds they are common practice for farmers and ag colleges, Reuters reports. The groups also cite poultry feeding and management methods, sow gestation crates, and tail-docking of cows as inhumane practices.
A decision by the three-judge panel isn't expected for months.
-- Joe Roybal