Animal News You Can Use: The meat industry can’t stop whining  »


The meat industry’s leadership seems to be in a panic over how prevalent the term “factory farming” is these days. My coworker Matt Prescott takes them to task in a new Washington Post commentary, explaining that meat production is in fact far more factory than farm, and that it was the industry itself which helped coined the language used to describe these inhumane places.

They’re also complaining about California’s historic and humane law banning foie gras, even calling for the Supreme Court to nullify that law. One of them got into the ring with me this week on NPR’s Los Angeles affiliate to debate the issue. You can listen to our debate here, and read more about it in the LA Times.

What else do they complain about? The fact that some countries are concerned about American chicken products being soaked in chlorine. I discuss the issue in my new commentary, “Got Chlorine? Your Chicken Might.”

Finally, they love to complain about all the studies showing that eating less meat improves health. Well, the title of an article in Men’s Journal this week won’t make them happy: “Go Vegetarian, Live Longer.”

Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Video of the week: Think we’re the only species that likes to surf? Check out these black swans!


California court rules selling banned foie gras isn’t “free speech”  »


Turns out that selling foie gras products in California after the state ban took effect last July is still illegal. Or at least it’s totally not free speech, as La Toque restaurant in Napa unsuccessfully argued. Per our pals at Animal Legal Defense Fund:

 In a ruling by the Napa County Superior Court, the Sonoma County-based ALDF successfully defeated La Toque’s anti- SLAPP (a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion which aimed to allow their continued illegal sale of force-fed foie gras products as a “protest” protected by the freedom of speech. The court denied La Toque’s motion and agreed that illegally selling foie gras is not protected by the freedom of speech.

Despite the state ban, ALDF’s undercover investigations have revealed that La Toque routinely sells foie gras, the enlarged livers of force-fed birds, in clear violation of California Health and Safety Code § 25982. The lawsuit alleges that La Toque aims to circumvent the law by calling its actual sales of foie gras “gifts.”

Nonsense! And now they have to stop. It’s been fully 13 years since the ban passed and a year since it was implemented, and people are still crying about it. Like there aren’t 10 million other meals to make out of tortured animal bodies. Come on, you whiny babies.

Your Vegansaurus of course thinks the Regal Vegan’s Faux Gras is tops, but none of us has ever even tasted overstuffed goose liver—because we’re not total jerks. Foie gras is banned in California! Accept it and move on!

[photo of Périgord geese by JanetandPhil via Flickr]


“ The problem with foie gras is that it’s not important. It’s the tyranny of a small minority of passionate people victimizing an even smaller minority of passionate people. „

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!


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.


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!

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