Friday, 9 January 2015

Foie Gras

On January 7, a federal district court judge invalidated California's ban on the sale of foie gras, a ban that thousands of dedicated individuals, including myself, worked to get passed in 2004.  The judge improperly ruled that an unrelated federal law, the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) preempts the California foie gras ban.  

I, and many others, believe that the judge decided this case incorrectly.  The PPIA regulates only poultry slaughter, labeling, and ingredients, and not cruel farming practices.  The judge ruled that force feeding of geese and ducks constitutes an "ingredient", which of course is absurd.  Force feeding is clearly not an ingredient.  It is a cruel farming practice that is not supported by a majority of Californians, and is precisely the reason the initiative passed in 2004 to protect geese and ducks.

Many people can argue that eating animals of any kind is cruel and unnecessary because animals are held, transported and slaughtered in brutal conditions, but this modest protection of geese and ducks from force feeding only regulates the fact that they can not be tortured, before they are killed.

The recent federal district court ruling means that foie gras, a product of egregious cruelty to farm animals, which would be a felony if inflicted on dogs and cats, will now be sold in California restaurants.  In spite of this, I am still hopeful in our human compassion for animals and I encourage you to express your own compassion.  Please urge restaurants with foie gras on their menus to stop selling this diseased product and to sell one of the many delicious vegan pates instead.    

John Merryfield