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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2004

Contact: Teri Barnato, AVAR (530) 759-8106, cell (530) 219-7192
           Lauren Ornelas, Viva!USA (530) 759-8482, cell (530) 848-4021

What::   Hearing on SB 1520 (Burton)
        Bans Force Feeding of Ducks and Geese, Sales of Foie Gras in California  
When:  Monday, April 26
th, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Room 112, State Capitol Building

Golden Girl Bea Arthur and E-Entertainment Melissa Rivers Join Animal Protectionists in Support of Bill to Ban Force Feeding of Ducks, Senate Bill SB 1520 (Burton) to be Heard Monday

Sacramento, CA...Monday, April 26th, at 1:30 p.m., SB 1520 will be heard in the Senate Business and Professions Committee, Room 112, in the State Capitol Building. Bea Arthur, a co-star of the Golden Girls and star of Maude, and E-Entertainment Melissa Rivers, will join veterinarians and other animal protectionists in support of Senate President Pro Tem John Burton’s bill to ban force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras, as well as sales of the product in California.

Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese large amounts of food so that their livers swell to up to 10 times normal size. A pipe is shoved down the bird’s throat, and the force feeding process is repeated two or three times daily for two or three weeks. The birds are then slaughtered, and the liver is used for foie gras (French for “fatty liver”).

“I’ve introduced this legislation because I believe that cramming food down a duck’s throat to make foie gras, or a so-called gourmet item, is cruel,” said Senator Burton.     

Four animal protection groups are sponsoring the bill. They are: the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, Viva!USA, Farm Sanctuary, and Los Angeles Lawyers for Animals.

“Californians care about animals and do not support animal cruelty,” said lauren Ornelas, of Viva!USA, a bill sponsor. “We have support letters from poultry experts, veterinarians, celebrities, and hundreds from the public,” she said.

Sir Paul McCartney sent a letter in support of SB 1520. He asks California legislators “to make an ethical and humanitarian choice.”

A Zogby International poll, which surveyed 1,000 voters as to whether force feeding should be banned, revealed that 77 percent of the public agrees it should be banned. An informal poll of California Veterinary Medical Association members revealed that 58.3 percent believe that force feeding is cruel.

“Veterinarians have shown their support for banning this practice. The ducks used by Sonoma Foie Gras, the one producer of force fed birds in the state, are diseased. They have what’s called fatty liver disease, and they would die if not slaughtered. This practice is cruel and should not be tolerated in this state,” said Teri Barnato, National Director, Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, a bill sponsor.