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May 18, 2004

For Immediate Release

Contact: Teri Barnato, Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights - 530-759-8106 or 530-219-7192 (cell)
Lauren Ornelas, Viva!USA - 530-759-8482 or 530-848-4021 (cell)

California Senate Passes Bill to Ban Force Feeding of Ducks and Geese, Sales of Product in State

Sacramento, CA...The California Senate today voted to approve SB 1520, a bill that would ban the force feeding of ducks and geese and sales of foie gras from force-fed animals in California. Authored by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, by mid-day, SB 1520 had garnered the necessary 21 votes to pass.

Burton thanked his fellow legislators for taking a stand against the cruel practice of force feeding. "Cramming food down a duck's throat to make a gourmet item known as foie gras is not only unnecessary, it's inhumane," said Senator Burton. "The majority of the public is opposed to this practice, and the vote today reflects that compassionate opinion."

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 esophagus and food is forced into the stomach. The process is repeated two or three times daily for two or three weeks until the birds are slaughtered.

SB 1520 will now head to the Assembly for a legislative hearing sometime in June. During the Senate legislative hearing in April, the bill was amended to include a 7 1/2-year phase out period before the law takes effect. Currently, there is only one California farm, near Stockton, which uses force feeding to produce foie gras. But, other businesses have indicated an interest in opening foie gras farms in California.

Four animal protection groups are sponsoring SB 1520. They include: the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, Farm Sanctuary, Viva!USA, and Los Angeles Lawyers for Animals.