Foie Gras Fight: USDA Sued for Failure to Enforce Poultry Law

foiegras_FS_1.jpgA lawsuit filed by several animal welfare organizations earlier this week charges the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with condoning extreme animal cruelty and permitting diseased meat to enter the food supply.

The lawsuit, brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Compassion Over Killing, the Animal Protection & Rescue League, and Farm Sanctuary, alleges that the sale of foie gras for human consumption violates the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).

Foie gras is the diseased liver of ducks and geese that is the result of painful force-feeding. Tubes are forcefully shoved down the birds' throats and they are forced to consume more food than they would ever possibly consume naturally. The result: their livers become diseased and engorged, growing up to ten times their normal size.

The PPIA prohibits diseased, or "adulterated" meat from entering the food supply. In violation of federal law, however, the USDA has been permitting the production and sale of foie gras as a matter of course, instead of condemning the product for what it really is: a diseased organ that is the result of extreme animal cruelty.

Scientific studies have shown that people who consume foie gras are at a higher risk for a variety of physical ailments, including type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences published a study linking foie gras consumption to the development of secondary amyloidosis, a deadly disease.

Production of foie gras is so cruel that it has been banned in numerous countries worldwide. On July 1, 2012, a statewide ban is set to take effect in California, barring the production and sale of foie gras.