Protect Whistleblower Accused of Stealing Abused Animals
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Amber Canavan is a college student with years of experience helping animals. Until recently, she had no criminal history and advocates for social justice for all. She was concerned about the foie gras industry’s mistreatment of ducks so a prosecutor says she went onto a farm in New York to see what was happening to the animals. When she reportedly rescued two terribly abused birds and gathered video evidence of cruelty in this industry, she was arrested and faces serious criminal charges.
The film she collected during her visit was turned over to authorities, including the United States Department of Agriculture in an attempt to enforce animal welfare and food safety regulations. The farmer claims that two ducks went missing around the time that Amber was there, but it seems the real motivations behind the prosecution is that the evidence she obtained contradicts the pleasant imagery of the small farm they promote themselves as. At the behest of the owners of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Amber was charged with felony burglary and petit larceny for documenting injured and sickly animals, and for allegedly rescuing two ducks from one of the most notoriously cruel factory farms in the country. This February, she pled not guilty, and will be brought to trial as soon as this summer.
This farm claims to sell cage free, "humanely" raised foie gras, but a decade's worth of undercover investigations have shown otherwise. Hudson Valley Foie Gras is the largest industrial duck force feeding operation in the country where tens of thousands of ducks languish in pens suspended over their own waste. Animals are force-fed several times a day when a worker shoves a long, rigid tube down their throats. As with any typical factory farm, she witnessed sick, dead and dying animals, many with untreated injuries.
The ASPCA has taken the position that force feeding to produce foie gras violates Ag & Markets Code Section 353, prohibiting animal cruelty. Former New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation official Ward Stone has explained the extreme cruelty that goes into force feeding to make foie gras. He has examined ducks killed by force feeding at Hudson Valley Foie Gras and found that they "suffered tremendously."
By charging her with burglary, District Attorney Farrell is trying to characterize this activist as a criminal, and she faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. This prosecution is designed to have a chilling effect on free speech and to encourage people to turn their backs when they see wrongdoing and animal suffering.
Join us in saying no to animal cruelty and defend this brave whistleblower by asking Sullivan County District Attorney James Farrell to drop the outrageous charges of felony burglary and petit larceny against Amber.
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