It is unclear how many New Jersey pig farmers use gestation crates, narrow cages for pregnant sows. The Humane Society of the United States has lobbied for the bill, decrying the cages as cruel in a television ad and pointing to a statewide survey that found 91 percent of New Jerseyans supported a ban on the crates.
Throwing support to the Humane Society's campaign is Martha Stewart, who sent lawmakers a letter publicized by the Humane Society urging them to override Christie's June veto.
The bill would subject farm owners who break the law to fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in prison. It says the state Department of Agriculture and Board of Agriculture have developed humane standards for livestock.
In his veto message, Christie said that neither the American Veterinary Medical Association nor the American Association of Swine Veterinarians had called for a ban on the crates.
Lesniak argues that the governor acted to appease pork producers in Iowa, home to the first presidential caucuses. Christie is widely expected to run for president in 2016.
"No other reason makes sense why he would veto something supported by 90 percent of New Jersey residents . . . other than the fact that the Iowa pork industry came and lobbied him," Lesniak said. A spokesman for Christie declined to comment.
The National Pork Producers Council has opposed the bill, saying that few if any New Jersey farmers would be affected by the ban, but that the group objected to the Humane Society's efforts to pass similar legislation in a number of states.
A veto override requires a two-thirds vote. To override Christie's veto in the Senate, which Democrats control by a 24-16 margin, 27 senators must agree.
Lesniak said he "has the commitments" for his bill, which passed the Senate, 29-4, this year. Spokesmen for Senate Republicans did not respond to a request for comment Monday.