California Prepares to Say Farewell to Foie Gras as Ban Approaches

foiegraspic1.jpgOn July 1, 2012, a statewide ban on the sale and production of foie gras in California is set to take effect. The ban is a landmark victory for animal welfare and further strengthens California's laws relating to the protection of animals.

In a last-ditch effort to prevent the new law from taking effect, a group of California chefs petitioned lawmakers to overturn the ban on foie gras production and sale. However, California lawmakers were not to be swayed, and not a single legislator has agreed to sponsor legislation that would overturn the new law.

Foie gras is French for "fatty liver," and its production entails extreme animal cruelty and suffering. Pipes are painfully shoved down ducks' throats and they are forced to ingest several pounds of food at once--far more than they would eat naturally. This process is often repeated two to three times a day.

The ducks' livers become engorged and diseased, swelling up to ten times their normal size, and resulting in horrific emotional and physical suffering of these unfortunate animals.

Most ducks find it difficult to walk and breathe normally. Many suffer from ruptured organs and die. Ducks are typically crammed into small, filthy cages for the duration of their lives, unable to move, walk, or spread their wings. They become so distressed, they sometimes tear out their own feathers or cannibalize each other.

Many restaurant chains, including Wolfgang Puck, have banned the sale of foie gras. Worldwide, several European countries, as well as Argentina and Israel, prohibit foie gras production. California is the first state in the U.S. to ban the production and sale of foie gras produced by cruel force-feeding techniques.

Mercy For Animals applauds the California legislature for taking a firm stance against egregious animal cruelty and not swaying to the pressures of a small group of uncaring chefs. Ultimately, however, the most effective way for consumers to prevent unnecessary suffering of farmed animals is by adopting a healthy and compassionate vegan diet.