NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Republican Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed a politically charged bill that would have banned the use of certain pig cages in his state.

In a veto message issued Friday afternoon, Christie, who is seriously considering a 2016 presidential run, called the bill opposing gestation crates a “solution in search of a problem.”

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The contraptions, which are so small pregnant pigs can’t turn around in them, are rarely used on New Jersey’s 300 pig farms. But they’re widespread in Iowa, home to the nation’s first presidential nominating caucuses.

Iowa’s powerful pork industry, along with the state’s Republican governor, Terry Branstad, opposed the bill, and Christie’s response was being watched as a gauge of his presidential ambitions.

In his veto message, Christie criticized legislators for taking up the bill, accusing them of using lawmaking as “a political cudgel.”

Democratic Sen. Ray Lesniak, who authored the bill, told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith that Christie’s veto reeks of presidential politics.

“The pork industry is located in Iowa, and it’s the first presidential primary,” he said.

He said there’s no reason why pigs should be locked in gestation cages most of their lives.

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“They’re pure torture,” Lesniak said.

Paul Shapiro, vice president of the Humane Society, said it’s clear 2016 played a role.

Iowa is the nation’s leading pork producer and Iowa pork industry and Iowa’s governor have been lobbying Gov. Christie to veto this bill,” Shapiro said.

Christie vetoed similar legislation last year, but advocates had hoped changes would address his concerns. Instead, Christie said he would leave state policy in the hands of the Board of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture.

“I will rely on our in-state experts rather than the partisan politicians who sponsor this bill,” he said. “These facts are no less true today.”

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