ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Testimony of Foie Gras Cruelty Fed to Senate

by 5m Editor
6 March 2008, at 10:34am

MARYLAND, US - Today, Maryland’s Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will hear testimony from veterinarians, doctors and animal protection advocates on one of the most notorious and cruel agricultural practices—the force-feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras.

Senate Bill 599, sponsored by Sen. Joan Carter-Conway, would prohibit the force-feeding of birds to create foie gras. The house companion bill, H.B. 1137, will be heard in the House Committee on Environmental Matters on Tuesday, March 11.


*
"Given years of scientific documentation, overwhelming investigative evidence and mounting expert opinions revealing the cruelty inherent in this practice, we are hopeful that legislators will heed this urgent call for reason"
Julie Janovsky, Farm Sanctuary’s director of campaigns

Foie gras (translated from French as “fatty liver”) is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese two to three times each day through a pipe thrust down their throats forcing them to ingest daily up to one third of their own body weight. Many animals die from choking and suffocation as the pipe is thrust down their throats. The traumatic force feeding process can cause painful bruising, laceration and sores, as well as ruptured esophagi and livers.

The excessive force feeding causes hepatic lipidosis—a painful disease in which the liver’s abnormal expansion (10 to 12 times the normal size) displaces the birds’ lungs so breathing is incredibly difficult. In the final stages of this two to four week force feeding process, the birds’ limbs are displaced by their swollen abdomens and the birds may even exhibit seizures and comatose states as their livers fail and can no longer remove toxins from the blood.

“Foie gras is cruel and completely unnecessary,” states Julie Janovsky, Farm Sanctuary’s director of campaigns who will testify today. Janovsky adds, “Given years of scientific documentation, overwhelming investigative evidence and mounting expert opinions revealing the cruelty inherent in this practice, we are hopeful that legislators will heed this urgent call for reason and compassion and enact a ban on foie gras in the state.”

Foie gras production is banned in more than a dozen countries, based on animal welfare concerns. In the United States, California and Chicago have passed similar laws banning foie gras, and in 2008, legislation banning the production and/or sale of foie gras has been introduced in Ill., Md., Mich., N.Y. and Philadelphia. In Addition, more than 1,000 restaurants, chefs, grocery chains, airlines and other establishments nationwide have signed a pledge to stop selling this product. Furthermore, a recent Zogby poll found that nearly 80 percent of likely voters in the U.S. agree that foie gras production should be outlawed.

In the U.S. foie gras is produced on large factory farms in California and New York – though the California legislature has enacted a ban on the sale and production. Most imports of foie gras to the U.S. come from France and Canada. In 2007, Farm Sanctuary released photo and video evidence from the three largest foie gras facilities in Canada, showing horrifying conditions endured by ducks and geese used in the production of foie gras.

5m Editor