PETA President Bound and ‘Force-Fed’ During Protest »
Hi everybody, did you hear about this recent PETA UK demo? I’m interested in what you think about it. Details:
PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk caused enough of a scene outside British retailer Fortnum & Mason to make Britons drop their brollies in a colourful protest for PETA UK.
Showing what geese on Fortnum & Mason’s foie gras farms endure, a man bound Ingrid with ropes and pretended to shove a pipe down her throat. The pipe was attached to a funnel packed with grain, and fake blood oozed down her face to represent the mouth and neck wounds that geese sustain when they are gouged by the pipes.
In order to fully replicate how foie gras is produced, Ingrid would have had to be force-fed several times a day for weeks, until her liver had swelled to up to 10 times its normal size, when it would then be sold as a “delicacy.”
Until Fortnum & Mason stops the goose abuse, PETA UK vows not to stop the grotesque protests.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! WOOHOO!
Good news: A judge has rejected the foie gras industry’s attempt to put a hold on California’s new law banning the force-feeding of ducks (and selling products from force-fed ducks).
More good news: North America’s largest foodservice distributor, Sysco, is the latest food giant to come out against gestation crate confinement of pigs.
In response to the gestation crate debate, the National Pork Producers Council’s communications director was seriously quoted in the National Journal this week saying: “So our animals can’t turn around for the 2.5 years that they are in the stalls producing piglets…I don’t know who asked the sow if she wanted to turn around.” (No, this isn’t a quote from 30 years ago—it’s July 24, 2012. Seriously. Yes, I know.)
Amazingly, USDA put out a newsletter this week including a mention of the health and environmental benefits of Meatless Monday. This of course drew immediate outrage from the meat industry and its allies in Congress (Rep. Steve King from Iowa tweeted that it was “heresy”), prompting USDA to immediately remove the newsletter and announce that it wasn’t properly vetted. Lots of coverage on this, though the national AP story put it best when it aptly concluded, “The USDA often promotes the beef industry by encouraging Americans to eat meat.” (NPR and NY Times had good coverage, too.)
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
Ag industry trade journal Feedstuffs had a nice look at our campaign that’s getting big food retailers to call for an end to gestation crates for pigs, noting: “As HSUS and other activist groups gain momentum and credibility with food distributors and retailers, the pork industry seems to be stuck in a rut.”
I was glad to be on CNN Headline News this week with the always-fantastic Jane Velez-Mitchell discussing both the victory in Rhode Island (we just passed laws there banning veal/gestation crates and cattle tail-docking) as well as the federal hen protection bill. (Speaking of JVM, did you know you can meet her in person at the Taking Action for Animals conference in DC?)
NPR’s had a fascinating series on meat and America this week, including the release of a new poll showing that nearly 40 percent of Americans are eating less meat than three years ago, and more than half of those people cite animal welfare and/or the environment as a reason for their cutback.
Finally, this Sunday, the long-awaited law banning force-feeding ducks for foie gras (and the sale of it) takes effect. The LA Times editorial board has a good message for the chefs whining about not being about to sell products from force-fed birds: “Get over it.”
Video the week: Not as funny as normal, but a good reminder of how amazing the world can be.
The California foie gras ban finally takes effect (after eight years of fruitless searching for a “humane alternative” to gavage) in less than a week! Dana Goodyear wrote a brief post for the New Yorker about a protest of one of those creepy last chance foie gras dinners chefs are putting on here, this one in Los Angeles; the quote is from Mark Peel of Campanile and it is rich.
Did you know that foie gras protesters are actually victimizing people who eat foie gras? Victimizing! Is there anything more ridiculous than a defensive omnivore? Yes: an omnivore getting defensive about a nonsensical, disgusting luxury food.
But don’t worry, California foie gras-lovers; chefs can still serve your precious food, as long as they don’t sell it, which Bloomberg reports some chefs are totally planning to do. Or they might charge a preparation fee to customers who bring in their own foie gras! FREEDOM!
Paul Shapiro presents: Tyson Foods exposed and Safeway gets on the humane train! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
Greetings from Denver, where I just conducted one of three HSUS press conferences today announcing the results of our latest factory farm investigation (the fourth agribusiness facility HSUS has exposed in 2012 so far).
This investigation reveals truly appalling cruelty to pigs at a Wyoming gestation crate confinement operation that supplies Tyson Foods. Please watch and share this important new exposé.
This comes on the heels of the joint announcement by Safeway and HSUS just yesterday that the country’s second largest grocer is now formulating plans to eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain.
(And BTW, did you hear that? No? It sounded to me like the sound made when the legislative leadership in California delivers a smack-down to those who want to keep force-feeding ducks for foie gras legal in the state.)
You didn’t share that investigation link yet? Do me a favor and please do…pigs will thank you.
P.S. Video of the week: Yep, you guessed it.
Paul Shapiro presents: debating ducks, changing climate, and funny felines! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
Amazingly, even though they’ve had more than seven years to find an alternative to force-feeding, a small gaggle of foie gras enthusiasts in California are trying to repeal the upcoming July ban on the force-feeding of ducks for foie gras (and the sale of products from force-fed animals). I did a 20-minute debate about this on Southern California’s NPR affiliate yesterday, and an hour-long debate on Northern California’s NPR affiliate today.
Speaking of feeding, as far as what we’re feeding ourselves, the title of the Forbes article says it all: “Eating Less Meat Is World’s Best Chance For Timely Climate Change, Say Experts.” Meatless Monday recipes, anyone?
Some good news: HSUS’s Smithfield exposé video yesterday won a 2012 Webby Award! (The Webbys are kind of like an Oscars of online content.) We’re psyched.
Finally, last week’s video was the double-dutching dog. This week it’s the treadmill-loving cats.
Paul Shapiro presents: Ducks in the newspaper and cats in bed with you! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
In an LA Times op-ed today, the chairman of California Democratic Party lays a strong smack-down on those who want to repeal the state’s upcoming ban on force-feeding ducks for foie gras.
Food service giant Sodexo reports on the Meatless Monday efforts in its cafeterias: “Of the 74 percent who offered Meatless Monday, the majority of providers, 76 percent, said that the campaign was ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to implement and 65 percent said they will continue to promote the campaign with an additional 24 percent noting that they may continue.”
Speaking of, the Des Moines Register notes that demand for meat is falling due to many forces, including both the popularity of Meatless Mondays, as well as “a more powerful animal rights movement.” The article illustrates this by saying “Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, took his agency from its traditional role as protector of the nation’s dogs and cats into a political activist organization that has pushed, with partial success, referendums against animal confinements.”
(While on that topic, Michigan papers reported this past week on HSUS’s efforts to get Domino’s pizza to stop buy pork products from producers that use gestation crates for pigs.)
If that doesn’t make you love cats, this video of the week might get you closer.
Guest post: Support California’s foie gras ban! »
On July 1, the production and sale of foie gras will be illegal in the state of California.
There is only one foie gras farm in California, Sonoma Foie Gras. This place is a factory farm and a total nightmare for the animals that are tortured there. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
In 2011, I was one of the Animal Protection and Rescue League’s (APRL) undercover investigators inside Sonoma Foie Gras. We documented horrific conditions. The ducks were absolutely TERRIFIED of humans. There were ducks that could not get up, and ducks that had difficulty standing walking and breathing. All of the ducks were panting, which is a sign of extreme stress. They were covered in their own waste, blood, and regurgitated feed. There were dead ducks inside the pens and ducks that were on the verge of death. We saw trashcans that were filled with dead ducks, thrown away like garbage. You can watch footage of our undercover investigation here.
Most people don’t support this cruel treatment of animals anymore. In the state of California, only about 300 restaurants are continuing to serve foie gras (less than 1 percent of all restaurants). Foie gras production is supported by only a handful of chefs who lack the creative vision to create delicacies that aren’t produced by extreme animal cruelty. Not only are these chefs continuing to serve foie gras, in spite of the impending ban, a small (but vocal) minority are holding foie gras benefit dinners and raising funds to try to overturn the foie gras ban. A couple of these chefs have even been so bold as to say that they’ll defy it. They’re acting like little children throwing a temper tantrum.
Opponents of the ban have given a lot of false information to the media lately. A few chefs have stated that they’ve been to foie gras farms and have seen ducks running up to be fed! Are you kidding me? The ducks at Sonoma Foie Gras were TERRIFED at the very sight of humans!
Foie gras supporters have also stated that ducks would naturally gorge themselves. However, the particular breed of duck—a hybrid of Muscovy and Peking—used for foie gras production is not a migrating species, and these ducks would not gorge themselves. Moreover, even migratory ducks certainly wouldn’t gorge themselves to the point of organ failure, as is done in foie gras production. If ducks gorge themselves naturally, there shouldn’t be a need to force feed them, and there shouldn’t be a problem with a law against force-feeding.
Ban opponents claim to be working on a “humane” way of producing foie gras, but they’ve had eight years to come up with an alternative to force-feeding and they’ve come up with nada.
The San Francisco City Council, along with eight other city councils, including L.A. and San Diego, have passed resolutions calling on restaurants to stop serving foie gras. In that vein, I’ve started a campaign, United For Animals’ Foie Gras Fight, along with my fellow undercover investigators, to get foie gras cruelty out of the Bay Area! We’ve been organizing protests at Bay Area restaurants (mainly in San Francisco) that are serving foie gras and holding these ridiculous benefit dinners.
We have two recent victories under our belt: BayWolf Restaurant in Oakland (which removed foie gras from the menu four days after we protested there), and Taj Campton Place (which removed foie gras from the menu a few days before our scheduled protest). We need to keep the pressure on the restaurants that are continuing to serve foie gras.
The media have taken an interest in our cause, and have been sending crews to report on our protests, in which we seek to educate the public about the cruelty involved in foie gras production. We’ve recently done interviews with KTVU-2, NBC-3, CBS-5, and ABC-7.
If you would like to become involved in our campaign, and take a stand for the ducks that are tortured for this cruel delicacy, please check out our Facebook page, where you can find our upcoming events and links to our media coverage. You can also email me. We provide all of the signs, banners and leaflets. All you have to do is show up! It’s super easy and effective.
Dana Portnoy spends most of her “spare” time volunteering at Animal Place and Harvest Home Sanctuaries, baking treats for vegan bake sales, running half-marathons (to raise money for animals) and attending and organizing protests. She lives in the Bay Area with three rescued cats, who pretty much rule her life.
Foie gras is cruel, even if you think it tastes good. »
Scary video, very well made. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, just check out the stats in the beginning. This is not a rare occurrence, this is where the majority of foie gras comes from in the U.S.
A reader alerted us to this post on Etsy gushing over foie gras and complaining about any measures to stop it. It’s just a sickening, confused bit of writing that attempts to justify and rationalize cruelty by identifying that there are other cruelties in the world. I know my response is long but there are so many terrible points to contend. Plus foie gras is just so disturbing, when people make light of it, we should give it the attention it deserves. Let’s jump in, shall we?
It may not be a taste for every palate, but I’m a staunch fan of this controversial delicacy, particularly when it arrives as a generously sliced, perfectly pan-seared portion, topped with nothing more than a dusting of fleur de sel. Needless to say, I’m more than a little flustered at California’s pending law forbidding the production and sale of foie gras, which takes effect this July.
She lands on the pro side of the foie gras controversy because it tastes good? Is that how we make decisions? Is that what we base our values on? I have to assume people just don’t realize how very vapid the “it tastes good” argument is. We’re talking about cruelty, morals, and values and they come back with their sensory response? It’s absurdly superficial and amoral.
The proponents of the law argue that foie gras needs to be banned because the “gavage,” or force-feeding of geese and ducks as a method of production, is “inhumane.” While I do not doubt the existence of farms that provide less than ideal conditions for their ducks and geese, I’m puzzled as to why this food item, with more than 45 centuries of history and tradition, is being singled out when other more “inhumane” food choices exist.
She’s acting like we’re discussing genocide or something. Singling out foie gras? It’s not the funny-looking kid that always gets picked on at recess, it’s an abhorrent practice that results in a ridiculously unnecessary food product.
Let’s consider the ubiquitous hamburger, that quarter-pound of ground beef made from factory-farmed cows. We are, by now, familiar with the contamination risks inherent in the production of factory-farmed meat. Yet there’s a conspicuous absence of voices to ban this product.
What does contamination risk have to do with inhumane practices? I know the inhumane conditions can lead to tainted meat, but I thought we were talking about actual suffering, not sanitation. Additionally, I’m here! Let’s ban it!
Considering its affordability (when compared with pasture-raised, grass-fed beef) and availability in grocery stores across the country, one would think that subjecting the American population to the constant threat of bacterial contamination is more inhumane than seeking to ban the production of a luxury food item like foie gras. And we haven’t even started to discuss the cramped living conditions of the poor cows destined to live in their own manure for the length of their sad, sorry lives.
Exposing people to bacteria is inhumane? Let’s get a definition: “Without compassion for misery or suffering; cruel.” Come on, get some perspective. But again, let’s not subsidize factory farms, I’m down with that! And how about we DON’T torture cows! It’s just such an odd viewpoint. She states how hamburgers come from disease and cruelty so the conclusion she draws is that we should continue to eat foie gras? I never get that rationale. She’s using shitty conditions for one kind of animal to justify continuing shitty treatment of another? Just because there’s a variety of bad stuff, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop doing something bad.
Don’t eat meat? Well then, let’s take a look at where our fish comes from. Half of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is farmed, and that practice (aquaculture) is growing quickly to keep up with demand, with attendant consequences on the ocean’s health. Aquaculture has been found to rapidly deplete populations of wild fish in order to produce a pound of tuna or salmon and pollute ocean waters with fish waste, which has long-term environmental consequences for the world we live in. And yet there isn’t a peep to be heard about banning farmed salmon or tuna — or banning the practice of aquaculture altogether.
DUDE. First of all, what are you talking about? There is many a peep about this. This cool site “google” can help you learn more about it. Also, ask us! But really, that statement “Don’t eat meat? What about fish” is so bizarre too me. If a fish isn’t meat, what the fuck is it? It’s not a vegetable. It’s made out of dead animal. It’s not meat?
While it’s certainly important to pay attention to the welfare of animals that we depend on for food, there’s also a point where we need to recognize that an animal’s physiology renders it capable of certain physical conditions that would appear “inhumane” to the human experience.
OH MY GOD WATCH THE VIDEOS! Denying it’s inhumane is just blatant denial of reality.
Let me qualify that the notion of force-feeding an animal for food doesn’t sit comfortably with my foodie conscience. However, I’m also aware that part of that discomfort is a result of anthropomorphizing animals reared for consumption. The European Union’s Scientific Committee report about the welfare of ducks and geese involved in foie gras production found a lack of conclusive evidence on the aversive nature of force-feeding and its injurious effects. Wild waterfowl have also been found to produce foie gras after a feeding spree before the winter months. In fact, Eduardo Sousa produces “natural foie gras” using this method.
Is this article called “For the Love of Eduardo Sousa Foie Gras?” It’s not, is it. To be clear, I’ve heard of this dude and his story and I definitely prefer it to regular foie gras. Also to be clear, I still think it sucks anyway. Putting that aside, this post has nothing to do with this alternative foie gras. It’s about all foie gras, including the 99.99 percent of foie gras that Eduardo Sousa doesn’t produce.
Additionally, you guys read the study and tell me if you come to the same conclusion as she did. Here’s an excerpt from the study:
Birds, including ducks and geese, have a wide range of pain receptors and an elaborate pain recognition system. Most injuries caused by tissue damage during handling or tube insertion would result in pain. The oropharyngeal area is particularly sensitive and is physiologically adapted to perform a gag reflex in order to prevent fluids entering the trachea. Force feeding will have to overcome this reflex and hence the birds may initially find this distressing and injury may result. The beak of a duck is richly innervated and the insertion of a ring through the beak would cause pain during the operation and might cause neuroma formation, and hence prolonged pain, thereafter. Similarly, most injuries to the feet caused by inadequate flooring would be painful.
That doesn’t sound inconclusive. It actually sounds very painful. If you don’t feel like reading the whole study, just search for “pain” and tell me force-feeding doesn’t cause pain or injury. Back to the post:
What’s far more inhumane, in my view, is allowing easy access to food that’s produced and consumed in ways that have proven track records of destroying the environment and our health. Where are the bans on soda, high-fructose corn syrup, and factory-farmed animals? Why is it, despite everything we know today, that these food items still tend to be the cheapest, most affordable and accessible food items for those with limited budgets?
Whaaaat is she talking about? All kinds of people oppose soda, high-fructose corn syrup, and factory-farmed animals. And I thought we were talking about being inhumane to geese and now suddenly we’re talking about being inhumane to people again? And making shitty food affordable is a whole different kind of cruelty than shoving a metal pipe down an animal’s throat. Let’s be real.
The optimists out there may say that I’m over-reacting, and I certainly hope I am. Viewed from an alternate perspective, one could consider this ban as a significant step in the fight against Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The idealist in me hopes that this is the case, because when you start to discuss livestock production in “humane/inhumane” terms, no real progress can be made until you talk about the elephant in the room: factory-farmed meat. Banning an expensive specialty food item isn’t going to advance animal welfare, so long as the majority of the population continues to consume (whether by choice or necessity) products that are bad for their health and the environment.
Again, just because factory farming is awful, that in no way means we shouldn’t ban another cruel practice. And of course Vegansaurus readers know that we speak out against factory farming all the time, and we’re certainly not the only ones. So one more time with feeling: join us in reality! Foie gras is a cruel “delicacy” that needs to go.
Harvest Home’s Farewell to Foie Gras Party in Oakland on Saturday! »
Who wants to go to a vegan dessert party to celebrate the impending ban of foie gras production and sale in California? You do! Even better, the proceeds from the soiree will benefit the wonderful Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary. Delicious and delightful! The details are below, let’s all stuff our faces with magical vegan treats whilst saving animals. Today, the world is a slightly less shitty place, and isn’t that the point of it all? I think? Let’s all go!
Don’t miss this special holiday event! Enjoy seasonal vegan appetizers and desserts, including soy nog, specialty beer, and spiced apple cider. Plus, goodie bags LOADED with vegan treats from Obsessive Confection Disorder, NewTree Chocolates, Lulu’s Raw Chocolate Alchemy, Go Max Go Foods, Desiderio Chocolates, Let’s Do Organic Vegan Gummi Bears, 100% Pure Cosmetics, and more! [Ed.: THAT IS ONE HELL-OF A GOODIE BAG!]
View original photography of the sanctuary’s rescued ducks, vegetarian food drive benefitting the Emergency Food Bank of Stockton/San Joaquin (individuals who donate to the vegetarian food drive will be entered into a raffle to win cool prizes), and a Toast to the End of Foie Gras Sale and Production in California!
Awesome! The party happens on Saturday, Dec, 17, from 5 to 8 p.m., at a private home in Oakland. The address will be provided to registered attendees prior to the event. A single ticket costs $15; a single ticket and a one-month rescued duck sponsorship costs $30. Space is limited, so register online today!