Animal Protection Groups Oppose Attempt to Gut Calif. Ban on Cruel Force-Feeding of DucksMay 1st, 2012
Animal protection organizations are calling on California legislators to reject an eleventh hour attempt to gut an animal protection law passed in 2004 which is set to take effect this July.
California’s law banning the force-feeding of ducks and geese as well as the sale of foie gras produced by force-feeding was passed in 2004 as Senate Bill 1520 and included a seven-and-a-half-year phase-in. The law was authored by then State Sen. John Burton and the lengthy phase-out was supported by animal protection organizations and the sole producer of foie gras in California: Sonoma Foie Gras.
In order to produce foie gras, factory farm workers shove long pipes down the throats of ducks and geese multiple times each day to force-feed the animals unnaturally large quantities of corn and fat. The process causes the birds’ livers to become diseased with hepatic lipidosis and swell up to 10 times their normal size. The birds are then slaughtered, and the diseased, engorged organ is sold as foie gras.
In 2004, Sonoma Foie Gras owner Guillermo Gonzalez wrote to then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to urge him to sign the compromise bill into law, stating, “I have the moral stature to accept that if within the seven and a half years established by S.B. 1520, science and government don't arrive to the conclusion that the methods used in our foie gras production are acceptable...I will be ready to quit.”
During the past seven years, producers have not developed an alternative to the cruel force-feeding practices addressed by the 2004 bill. Recent investigations posted at www.StopForceFeeding.com show the process is still just as inhumane as when the law was passed.
“Shoving a pipe down a duck’s throat multiple times a day and forcing him to consume far more than he would ever normally eat is as cruel and inhumane today as it was seven years ago when California banned this animal abuse,” said Jennifer Fearing, senior California director of The Humane Society of the United States.
“Force-feeding animals to induce liver disease so people can consume a high-priced hors d’oeuvre is completely out of step with today’s growing commitment to animal welfare,” said Suzanne McMillan, director of the ASPCA’s farm animal welfare campaign.
“Cramming pipes down ducks’ throats is both physically painful and psychologically terrifying for these poor ducks,” said Farm Sanctuary senior director for strategic initiatives Bruce Friedrich.
- SB 1520 author and current chairman of the California Democratic Party John Burton recently published an op-ed in the LA Times, in which he wrote, “The time has come for this humane and common-sense law to finally take effect. Many years have passed since the Legislature discussed this important issue. We don't need to re-debate the cruelty of force-feeding.”
- Due to the inhumane treatment of the birds involved, more than a dozen countries, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Israel (formerly the world’s fourth-largest foie gras producer), have either prohibited force feeding for foie gras production or have interpreted it as illegal under existing anti-cruelty laws.
- Cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco have passed resolutions condemning foie gras. Retailers such as Safeway, Costco, Target and Whole Foods Market refuse to sell it. More than a hundred California restaurateurs have already dropped foie gras from their menus.
- Renowned chef Wolfgang Puck sent a letter to nearly 5,000 fine dining restaurants in California last month to explain why he supports the law. He wrote, “As a chef, a businessman, and someone who cares about the humane treatment of animals, I’m writing to let you know why I support this particular law, and why I hope you’ll give it your full support as well.”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, visit aldf.org.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit aspca.org.
Mercy For Animals is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies. The organization is most well-known for its undercover investigations of major factory farming operations.
Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s first organization dedicated solely to the protection of farm animals, operates several shelters for rescued farm animals and works to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate living.
The Animal Protection and Rescue League is a grassroots nonprofit organization based in San Diego which works to document and expose animal cruelty occurring behind closed doors, educates the public on animals issues through innovative outreach campaigns, and works with policymakers and politicians to implement humane change.