IDA Writing Alert: Animal activists decry delicacy

August 9th, 2007 9:06 pm by Kelly Garbato

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From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Aug 9, 2007 2:07 PM
Subject: Writing Alert: Animal activists decry delicacy

The Deseret News ran an article about foie gras and local activists’ efforts to get restaurants to remove the cruel “delicacy” from their menus. Please write a letter to the editor about the suffering ducks and geese endure to produce foie gras. Send letters to letters [at] desnews.com.

Animal activists decry delicacy

By Elaine Jarvik
Deseret Morning News

Foie gras is French for fatty liver – and, despite that rather unappealing description, it’s been a gourmet delicacy for centuries. But now animals rights activists like Colleen Hatfield of Taylorsville are campaigning to get the item off restaurant menus, arguing that it is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese through a pipe shoved down their throats.

A month ago, Hatfield, who is a member of the Chicago-based group SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness), sent letters to eight northern Utah restaurants she says serve foie gras, urging them to stop. Next weekend, she and other SHARK members plan to begin protesting at those restaurants that have not agreed to the request.

The letter, which called foie gras “this food of misery,” was accompanied by a DVD

Hatfield says was made by undercover investigators at the two U.S. farms that produce all the foie gras eaten in this country.

“If you could see it you would absolutely die,” says Hatfield. The ducks and geese are force-fed grain three times a day, quickly becoming so fat they they can’t walk, she says. “Sometimes the animals even explode.”

According to the Web site http://www.nofoiegras.org, the animals’ livers swell up to 10 times their normal size, and complications include pneumonia, lacerated tracheas and esophagi, and bacterial and fungal growth on the lining of the fowl’s organs. “Unlike other food items, it is not possible to produce foie gras without engaging in animal cruelty and creating a pathological state in the animals,” according to the site. “Nobody needs foie gras. It’s only eaten by a few people, and its production and consumption represent egregious, gratuitous cruelty.”

Foie gras is now banned in more than a dozen countries, and both California and Chicago have passed laws banning the delicacy, Hatfield says. In Utah, partly as a result of her letter-writing campaign, La Caille restaurant in Sandy has stopped selling foie gras.

Soaked in orange liqueur and seared with veal juice, the foie gras on La Caille’s appetizer menu used to sell for $17.50. But after learning about foie gras production, says restaurant manager Laura Horton, “we started thinking about it and it wasn’t worth it.” Geese, she notes, actually live on the restaurant’s premises, “and we couldn’t support being mean to their cousins.”

Horton describes foie gras as having a “creamy, buttery” texture. “It’s kind of an acquired taste,” she adds.

A couple of other restaurants sent Hatfield e-mails and letters that were a bit more cryptic. One said it had removed foie gras from its online menu, but Hatfield says she isn’t sure it actually stopped serving the item; another restaurant sent her what seemed to be a form letter thanking her for her interest.

The eight restaurants pegged by SHARK’s letter-writing campaign included La Caille, Metropolitan, Log Haven, The New Yorker, The Tree Room at Sundance, Mariposa at Deer Valley, and Chenez and Grappa in Park City.

SHARK will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. today at the Salt Lake City main library, 210 E. 400 South, conference room A.

E-mail: jarvik [at] desnews.com

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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