IDA Writing Alert: It’s time to ban foie gras, the trifecta of misery

June 7th, 2007 12:43 pm by Kelly Garbato

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Jun 7, 2007 11:05 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: It’s time to ban foie gras, the trifecta of misery

The Philly Daily News ran an opinion piece about foie gras in support of a ban on the cruel “delicacy.” Please write a letter to the editor about the suffering ducks and geese endure to produce foie gras in support of the legislation. Send letters to views [at] phillynews.com.

Read “It’s time to ban foie gras, the trifecta of misery” online.

Stu Bykofsky | It’s time to ban foie gras, the trifecta of misery

FOIE GRAS is French for “fatty liver.”

For many, including Councilman Jack Kelly, it is animal torture, and that’s why he introduced a bill to ban it.

Chances are, you never ate foie gras.

Chances are, if you knew what it is and how it is made, you never would.

A Zogby International poll of likely Pennsylvania voters said 61 percent never eat foie gras.

A piddling 2 percent eat it at least once a year. One-third said they’ve never even heard of it.

Each year in the U.S., almost a half-million ducks are caged, tortured and slaughtered for their livers, deliberately diseased by the cruel hand of man.

To create “fatty liver,” tubes are jammed down the throats of helpless male ducks two or three times a day to force-feed them up to a total of four pounds of grain mush. The forced feedings go on for 12-15 days.

The “feeding” stresses the duck’s liver, exploding it up to 10 times normal size.

Foie gras producers (only two or three in the U.S.) say forced feeding is a day at the spa because ducks’ throats are tough and desensitized. I have yet to see a photo of a duck happily waddling up to a man holding a feeding tube.

No, a caged duck is grabbed so the tube can be rammed down his throat. Sometimes necks are pierced, sometimes wings are broken. The grotesquely enlarged livers can make it hard for ducks to even walk, but cruelty is overlooked to satisfy the palates of those who’ll pay $30-45 a pound at retail for foie gras – the trifecta of misery: unnecessary, unhealthy, unkind.

The cruelty earlier led Chicago to ban foie gras, along with California (by 2012), several European nations, plus Israel, which had been the world’s third-leading supplier. In March, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck removed foie gras from all his menus, followed by Philadelphia uber-restaurateur Steve Starr, who called it “cruel.” Philly restaurants banning foie gras run from chains (The Palm) to independents (Valanni), from down home (Marigold Kitchen) to exotic (Susanna Foo).

Locally, Assouline & Ting owner Joel Assouline says foie gras accounts for about 15 percent of his gourmet-food business and losing it would result in layoffs for five or six of his 25 workers.

“Banning foie gras will be a major detriment to the restaurant business in Philadelphia,” he says, but admits “only 1 percent of the population eats foie gras.”

Would depriving 1 percent of their wretched goo crash the restaurant trade?

The callous 1 percent who need to spend $24 for a foie gras appetizer could be seduced to shell out for truffles or caviar, or some other unusual, overpriced item. I’m convinced if you gave it a French name and charged enough for it, you could sell snot.

Assouline worries that foie gras is the tip of the spear. He fears a move “to ban all farm-raising, period. No chicken, no veal, no meat.”

Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary, which paid for the Zogby poll, says eliminating all farming isn’t on his plate, but foie gras is “egregious cruelty.” That’s why restaurants that serve it are picketed here and elsewhere.

I don’t usually favor government intrusion (smoking and trans-fat bans) into free-choice areas, but the cruelty element makes this different.

Not long ago it was common to beat horses unmercifully, or to bag puppies and kittens and drown them in the river. A slow-dawning enlightenment birthed the idea that brutality to animals is wrong.

It didn’t lead to rampant vegetarianism. It didn’t give animals the vote.

Neither will banning unnecessary, unhealthy, unkind foie gras. *

E-mail stubyko [at] phillynews.com or call 215-854-5977. For recent columns: http://go.philly.com/byko

You can use the following points to assist you in writing your letter or visit http://www.stopforcefeeding.com for more information:

* Every year nearly 500,000 ducks are confined into warehouses, force-fed with a pipe shoved down their beaks, and slaughtered for their diseased livers.

* Recent investigations of the United States’ only three foie gras farms found gross neglect and cruelty. Witnesses found tens of thousands of ducks confined in filthy, overcrowded confinements and others left to suffer in enclosures so small they could even spread a wing.

* Ducks are force-fed with a long metal pole repeatedly shoved down their throats. The torture begins when they are just three months old and continues until they are sent to slaughter.

* During the investigation of three U.S. foie gras farms, investigators found birds on the verge of death, covered in their own vomit. Other birds were found dead in their cages. They had suffocated and choked to death from being force-fed.

* Many of the ducks who survive become too sick to walk. Those who survive the feedings suffer from a painful illness that causes their livers to swell to ten times their normal size.

Letters should be less than 200 words. Please do not send attachments and please remember to include your full name, address, and phone number (for verification purposes–street names and phone numbers will not be published) and not to use any wording in this alert. Thanks and good luck!

Sincerely,
Kristie Phelps
Communications Director

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for IDA’s Action Center.

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with more than 85,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA’s efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi and Cameroon, Africa.

In Defense of Animals 3010 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael, California 94901 – P: (415) 388-9641 F: (415) 388-0388

email: idainfo [at] idausa.org

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One Response to “IDA Writing Alert: It’s time to ban foie gras, the trifecta of misery”

  1. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » DawnWatch: Terrific Philly Daily News column supporting foie gras ban — 6/7/07 Says:

    […] FYI: This article was also the subject of a recent In Defense of Animals alert. See: IDA Writing Alert: It’s time to ban foie gras, the trifecta of misery. […]

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