As one of the Animal Protection and Rescue League's Cruelty Investigators, I have witnessed firsthand how ducks suffer on foie gras farms. The production of foie gras is an extreme form of animal cruelty. Ducks are force fed several times a day with rigid pipes shoved down their throats until their livers swell to ten times their normal size, creating a sickened duck and a fatty liver. I personally witnessed ducks suffering greatly from severe breathing problems as their enlarged, diseased liver crowded out the rest of their organs.
The foie gras industry has been touted as small, artisinal, and even 'free range' by misinformed chefs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Thousands of ducks suffer in gigantic, reeking, windowless sheds. The ventilation fans do little to clear the sticky, foul air that the ducks must endure breathing 24 hours a day. Thousands of gallons of feces is cleared from the sheds into huge manure lagoons, and the New York based Hudson Valley Foie Gras farm has been cited for numerous violations under the Clean Water Act. The birds are never allowed out of the pens until the day they are slaughtered, when they are roughly grabbed, slung up in shackles, and have their throats slit.
SB1520, a bill that bans both the production and sale of foie gras passed in California seven years ago, supposedly to allow California's only foie gras farm time to develop a 'humane' way to create grossly enlarged, diseased duck livers. They were unable to accomplish their goal. The disingenuous "Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming" claims to "...support a broader standard for ethical treatment of animals and humane farming practices.", but in reality is a front group for the notoriously cruel, pollution-spewing foie gras industry. CHEFS was unable to reach their goal of one hundred signatures on their petition supporting the repeal of SB1520, while well over one hundred chefs across the state have purposefully removed foie gras from their menu, with more dropping it from their menus every passing week.
Chefs should be role models for how America eats, and supporting the foie gras industry should be no part of it.
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