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August 24, 2004

Contact: Teri Barnato, AVAR, 530-759-8106 or 530-219-7192 (cell)

California Assembly Passes Bill to Ban Force Feeding of Ducks and Geese

Sacramento, CA...The California Assembly today voted to approve Senate Bill 1520, a bill that would ban the force feeding of ducks and geese and sales of foie gras from force-fed animals in California. The bill, authored by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco), passed out of the Assembly with a 44-28 vote.

In asking his colleagues to support the bill, Burton said it’s time that California take 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. Also speaking in support of the bill on the Assembly floor was Assemblymember Joe Nation, a Democrat from San Rafael, who said the restriction is needed to stop an inhumane practice.

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 to three weeks until the birds are slaughtered to produce foie gras.

SB 1520 will now be sent back to the Senate for concurrence on final amendments to the bill before the end of the month. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger then will have until the end of September to sign the bill into law. SB 1520 has already been described as one of the top 10 bills which will test Governor Schwarzenegger on his policy positions and help define his administration.

Currently, there is only one California farm, near Stockton, which uses force feeding to produce foie gras. However, other businesses have indicated an interest in opening foie gras farms in California. The only other foie gras farm in the United States is located in New York, and legislation is also pending in that state to ban the practice. Several other countries, including Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, have already banned forced feeding to produce foie gras.

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. More than 15 other animal protection organizations, representing one million Californians, have also announced their support for the bill as have several celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney, Martin Sheen, Bea Arthur, Valerie Harper and Melissa Rivers.


Pam Runquist
Director of Companion Animal Issues
Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
PO Box 208
Davis, CA 95617-0208
Tel: (530) 759-8106