IMMEDIATE RELEASE : February 23, 2004
CONTACT: Teri Barnato- 530-759-8106
or 530-219-7192 (cell)
California Bill Would Ban Force Feeding of Ducks
and Sales of Foie Gras
Animal Protectionists Say Practice is Cruel
Sacramento, CA ...Senate Bill 1520 has been introduced by
Senate President Pro-Tem John Burton at the request of a coalition of animal
protection organizations. The California bill seeks to prohibit the force feeding
of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras, as well as sale of the product.
"We just shouldn't be cramming a tube down a duck's throat and forcing in food
to make foie gras," said Senator Burton. "It's an inhumane process that other
countries have sensibly banned. I'm pleased California will be next on the
Foie gras (or fatty liver) is produced by force feeding ducks and geese excessive
amounts of food several times daily, which subsequently causes their livers to
swell up to 10 times normal size. Some restaurants serve the fatty liver as an
expensive food item.
"Foie gras production is animal cruelty, and California should take a stand against
such abuses," said Teri Barnato, National Director of the Association of Veterinarians
for Animal Rights, one of the bill sponsors. "It is time for California to
join with countries such as Denmark, Norway, Poland, Germany, and Israel to
make this practice illegal."
A nationwide poll taken last month by Zogby International revealed that 77
percent of likely voters believe the practice of force feeding should be banned.
According to Professor Ian Duncan of the University of Guelph, Ontario, "Forcing
food down a bird's gullet beyond the limits of its appetite will cause pain
and suffering... Force feeding quickly results in birds that are obese and
in a pathological state, called hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease."
"Representatives of the poultry industry are claiming that gorging before migration
is similar to force feeding, which is ludicrous," said Barnato. "If ducks ate
that much food naturally, then force feeding wouldn't be necessary. Further,
the Mullard, the duck selected for foie gras production, is a cross between
two duck species, one that does not migrate."
Professor Nicol of the Division of Farm Animal Science at the University of
Bristol in England has observed the practice and also finds it cruel. "Foie
gras production takes no account of the physiological state of the bird but
involves force feeding far beyond the point at which the bird would naturally
SB 1520 is sponsored by the following organizations: Association of Veterinarians
for Animal Rights ( www.avar.org ), Farm Sanctuary
( www. farmsanctuary.org ), Los
Angeles Lawyers for Animals, and Viva!USA ( www.vivausa.org ).