Annise D. Parker, Mayor, City of Houston: Ban the sale of foie gras in Houston city limits

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Annise D. Parker, Mayor, City of Houston: Ban the sale of foie gras in Houston city limits

This petition had 817 supporters
Houston Animal Rights Team (HART) started this petition to Mayor, City of Houston Annise D. Parker

The extreme cruelty involved in the making of foie gras (the fattened, diseased liver of ducks or geese) has no place in the friendly city of Houston, Texas. Sign this petition and help make it clear to the Mayor, Annise D. Parker, that the citizens of Houston do not support the egregious abuse of ducks and geese!

What is foie gras?

Foie gras is a french term which literally means "fatty liver." It is, in fact, a disease caused to the liver of ducks or geese by means of force feeding the birds an unnatural amount of hot grain. A duck's liver fattened to make foie gras will usually be 10 times the size of a normal, healthy liver. This is wanton cruelty to animals.

The production of pate foie gras involves force-feeding ducks and geese by placing a long tube down the birds' esophagi and pumping an unnatural quantity of food directly into their stomachs. Force-feeding induces hepatic lipidosis and causes the birds' livers to become diseased and enlarged. Substancial scientific evidence suggests that force-feeding can cause pain and injury from feeding tube insertion, fear and stress during capture and handling, gait abnormality due to distended livers, pathologies in liver function, and increased morality. Force-feeding birds to produce foie gras is detrimental to their welfare.

Injuries and Risks to the Birds

• Injury from handling caused by the mouth of the force feeding funnel or by the pipe (when massaging the neck) or by too hot food
• Inflammation of the neck resulting from too forcible an introduction of the pipe to the throat
• Bruising or perforation of the esophagus when the pipe is inserted
• Asphyxia caused by accidentally forcing the food into the trachea
• Potential for injury due to multiple insertions of a long feeding tube, with possibility of secondary infection
• Distress from restraint and manipulations associated with force feeding
• Compromised health and welfare resulting from obesity, including the potential for impaired locomotion and lethargy
• Creation of a vulnerable animal more likely to suffer from otherwise tolerable conditions such as heat and transport

Potential Human Health Risks

There are also newly recognized human food safety concerns associated with foie gras. Amyloidosis is a group of diseases in which accumulated proteins damage body tissues and disrupt their functions. In a 2007 study, American and Swedish researchers found amyloid deposits in commercially available foie gras nd discovered they could induce amyloidosis in laboratory animals by injecting them or feeding them amyloids extracted from foie gras. These reserachers then cautioned susceptible human populations to avoid foods, like foie gras, which may be contaminated with amyloid fibrils. Populations at risk of developing amyloid fibrosis include those who suffer from a long list of inflammatory diseases, such as tuberculosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcers, lupus, and more. However, 60% of the most common type of systemic amyloidosis cases occur in persons who simply suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Growing Public Outcry

In the past decade, a large number of nations have banned foie gras production, including Israel, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, and Poland. Other countries whose laws effectively ban the force feeding of animals for foie gras production include Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In 2002, the Pope declared the force-feeding of geese to be against biblical principles. In July 2012, the state of California became the first to make the production and sale of foie gras illegal.

What Animal Experts Say About Foie Gras

“Having seen firsthand the terrible suffering of ducks, I am forced to conclude that foie gras is produced at a terrible cost to the birds themselves. Foie gras, touted as a gourmet delicacy to entice the palate, is really only the diseased tissue of a tortured, sick animal.” Dr. Wendy Jensen, veterinarian

“Forced feeding of waterfowl, or food induced hepatic steatosis, leads to pathological changes in the liver which cause undeniable suffering to these animals.” Dr. Yvan Beck, veterinarian

“In my view it is completely unethical to deliberately promote a diseased state in an animal. The birds' obesity will lead to a myriad of other problems from skeletal disorders to difficulties in coping with heat stress and all of which are accompanied by feelings of malaise.” Dr. Ian Duncan, University of Guelph


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