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Friday, November 30, 2007

Groups Claim Foie Gras Unfit for Consumption

US - The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, Animal Legal Defense Fund, NYU Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and several individuals filed a legal petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service calling on the agency to issue new regulations declaring foie gras a diseased product that is unfit for human food under the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).

Foie Gras

The petition includes hundreds of pages of supporting documentation citing statements from leading avian veterinarians in the United States explaining how the production of foie gras causes ducks and geese to contract a fatty liver disease known as "hepatic lipidosis." The petition is also supported by a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicating that the consumption of foie gras may pose health risks to a significant portion of foie gras consumers.

"Foie gras is a cruel, diseased product that has no place in the human food supply," said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president for Animal Protection Litigation with The Humane Society of the United States. "Federal law requires USDA to protect consumers from diseased poultry products, and that is exactly what this petition asks the agency to do."

Facts according to The Humane Society of the United States
Foie gras is made from the intentionally diseased, fattened livers of ducks and geese. To produce force-fed foie gras, producers force-feed birds an unnatural amount of food through a pipe thrust down their throats until their livers expand to ten times their natural size. This force-feeding can cause painful bruising, lacerations, sores, organ rupture, and even death.

The Poultry Products Inspection Act requires that poultry products be condemned if they consist of any "filthy, putrid or decomposed substance or is for any other reason, unsound, unhealthful, unwholesome, or otherwise unfit for human food."
Chicago, California, and more than a dozen countries—including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland—have taken legislative action on the issue of foie gras and cruel force-feeding practices. Even the Pope has condemned it.
A 2004 Zogby poll showed that 77 percent of Americans believe the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese for foie gras should be banned.

From - ThePoultrySite News Desk

Responses (2)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tatiana at 12/01/07 14:48:49

    This was outlawed in California in 2004, unfortunately they get to torture ducks and geese until 2012 when the law goes into effect :

    SB 1520, a bill to ban the force feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras, passed the California Legislature and, on September 29, 2004, was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the law does not become effective until July 2012, it is viewed by the majority of national animal advocacy groups* as a major victory for farmed animals and farmed animal legislation in that it prohibits both a farmed animal abuse and the sale of the product of that abuse – foie gras or “fatty liver” – throughout the state.

    Opposition to the amended SB 1520 drew attention to the fact that the law has an 8 year phase-out period during which time Sonoma Foie Gras, the only producer of foie gras in California, is immunized from civil or criminal lawsuits directed against force feeding (though other acts of cruelty may charged and prosecuted during that time). In response it has been pointed out that all legislation banning cruel farmed animal practices includes a phase-out period; for example, the European ban on battery cages for hens, passed in 1999, includes a phase-out period until 2012, and the Florida sow gestation crate ban that voters passed in 2002 doesn't go into effect until 2008.

    I have never eaten foie gras and never will. Even when I was a little kid I knew that it was wrong. I hope they ban this nationally. I can't think of anything more to say, I'm getting grossed out, lol.

  • Stig's avatar
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    Posted by Stig at 12/07/07 00:46:53

    Following outcry, it's au revoir to foie gras

    By Mike Santa Rita

    Michel Tersiguel When a group of animal rights activists arrived outside of Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant in Ellicott City on Dec. 1 and said they were prepared to protest the presence of patŽ de foie gras on the eatery's menu, Executive Chef Michel Tersiguel said he had no choice but to stop serving the delicacy.

    Tersiguel said Dec. 4 that he did not want his customers bothered by protesters.

    "It was a no-win situation for us," he added.

    As of Jan. 1, Tersiguel will stop carrying the patŽ, which is made from fattened goose livers in a process that detractors claim is cruel to the birds.

    Meanwhile, Steve Wecker, an owner of the Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia, said his restaurant took foie gras off its menu Dec. 3 because of customer complaints.

    "People have told us they'd ruin us" if Iron Bridge continued to serve foie gras, Wecker said. "It's just not worth it to us."

    Animal rights activists claim that the delicacy is cruel to geese because it involves a process in which the birds are force-fed to fatten their livers, then slaughtered.

    "The force-feeding process is quite traumatic for the bird," said Aaron Ross, a campaign coordinator for the Baltimore Animal Rights Coalition, whose members met with Tersiguel on Dec. 1. "A lot of times the birds cannot even walk or even stand. Some birds have literally exploded from the force-feeding process."

    David Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association, which represents about 76,000 veterinarians across the United States, said the science on the issue is inconclusive.

    "The animal science behind the production of foie gras is not extensive," Kirkpatrick said. "Some of the science that exists is equivocal and certainly can be debated."

    Foie gras, which was made popular in France, is created in the United States by force- feeding geese through a small, metal funnel attached to a pipe that extends into the bird's throat, said Nickolas Zimmermann a professor of animal and avian sciences at the University of Maryland.

    The force-feeding continues about twice a day for about 20 weeks until the bird is fattened up at which point it is killed, Zimmermann added.

    Chicago has banned restaurants from selling foie gras, and California has instituted a ban that takes effect in 2012, Kirkpatrick said.

    Breeding geese for foie gras is not illegal nationally or in Maryland, spokeswomen for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Department of Agriculture said this week.

    Zimmermann said he did not believe the process was cruel to the birds.

    "It's just like getting fed," he said. "They're just overfeeding."

    Ross said the Baltimore Animal Rights Coalition, which consists of 15 core members and 500 volunteers, began its campaign against foie gras in September and sent literature to Tersiguel explaining how the patŽ is made.

    "We gave them plenty of time to think it over," Ross said.

    Ross said he arrived at Tersiguel's on Dec. 1 with about five others who were ready to launch a protest in front of the restaurant and demanded to see Tersiguel, he said.

    Tersiguel avoided a protest by agreeing to no longer serve foie gras, Tersiguel and Ross said.

    The group has convinced two other restaurateurs in Maryland to stop serving the goose liver, as well, Ross said.

    Tersiguel said Dec. 5 he believed the foie gras industry in the United States is vulnerable to protesters because it is small and not firmly embedded in the national culture in the way the veal and turkey industries. He said he believed in respecting animals in the cooking process.

    "What I try to teach in my kitchen is how to respect the farm, respect the animal," he said. "Use the whole animal."

    Wecker, meanwhile, said he was not happy with having to take the dish off his menu.

    "Way too much is being decided for us by those who feel they have the answers," he said. "For what it's worth, I think people should make a personal decision on what they want to do. If we're all supposed to eat bean sprouts, ultimately, count me out."

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