Ban The Extreme Cruelty To Ducks of Foie Gras

In response to a California district court’s decision to overturn a portion of the state’s law that bans the production and sale of cruelly produced foie gras, Farm Sanctuary issued the following statement:

On January 7, a federal district court judge invalidated California’s ban on the sale of foie gras, a ban that Farm Sanctuary and our supporters actively worked to get passed in 2004. The judge erroneously ruled that an unrelated federal law, the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), preempts the California foie gras ban.

Farm Sanctuary believes that the judge clearly decided this case incorrectly. The PPIA regulates only poultry slaughter, labeling, and ingredients, and not cruel farming practices. Accordingly, in order to conclude that the foie gras sales ban was unconstitutional, the judge, in an opinion that defies logic, held that the force-feeding of geese and ducks, constitutes an “ingredient.” Force feeding is clearly not an ingredient. It is a cruel farming practice, which is still banned in California and in more than a dozen other countries.

Unfortunately, the judge’s ruling means that foie gras — a product of egregious cruelty to farm animals that would be a felony if inflicted on dogs or cats — will now be sold in California restaurants. To prevent this injustice, Farm Sanctuary urges the California Attorney General to promptly appeal the district court’s convoluted decision to the Ninth Circuit and seek an immediate stay on the decision pending the outcome of the appeal. This action is necessary so that the will of the majority of California’s citizens, who support the ban on this horrific practice, may prevail.

At Farm Sanctuary, we are privileged to provide a loving home to ducks who have survived the horrors of foie gras. Living at our New York Shelter right now are Monet and Matisse, who were left here anonymously after they were rescued from a foie gras facility. They arrived with sores on their bills from the force-feeding pipe; cuts, scrapes, and broken feathers attested to the cramped cages where they were confined and to rough handling by workers, who hold struggling birds as feed is pumped into their bodies.

Understandably, rescued foie gras ducks have been among the most terrified animals we’ve welcomed to our shelters. During their first days with us, Monet and Matisse were subdued, hiding in the corner whenever caregivers approached. Then one day, while being weighed, Monet did something he’d probably been longing to do for weeks at the foie gras factory: He opened his wings and flapped. Emboldened by his friend, Matisse tried it too. Soon both ducks were joyfully spreading their wings, thrilled to embrace their new lives. All ducks deserve such freedom from fear and pain. California’s foie gras ban offered hope of an end to their suffering.

Even in the face of yesterday’s decision, we are determined to keep that hope alive. And we encourage you to do so as well. Please urge restaurants with foie gras on their menus, and stores with foie gras on their shelves, to stop selling this diseased product and to sell one of the many delicious vegan pates instead.

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