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Philly Should Say Au Revoir to Foie Gras

By       Message Heather Moore       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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If Philadelphia City Councilman Jack Kelly gets his way, the city known for brotherly love will also soon be known for kindness to animals. Councilman Kelly recently proposed a bill to ban the sale of foie gras --a so-called delicacy made from the diseased livers of ducks and geese. If the bill passes, and it should, Philly will become just the second city in the nation to ban a food out of concern for animal welfare.

Chicago was the first. On April 26, the Chicago City Council voted 48 to 1 to outlaw the sale of foie gras. Foie gras production is also prohibited or restricted in Israel, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, and several other European countries. In 2004 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill to ban the production and sale of foie gras in the state, starting in 2012. Politicians in New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Oregon have proposed similar legislation.

Like chickens and turkeys, ducks and geese are not covered by the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the only federal law that offers any sort of protection to farmed animals. Birds raised for foie gras are normally confined to cages and fed a high-protein, high-starch diet that is designed to promote rapid growth. Farmers begin force feeding the birds when they are between 8 and 10 weeks old. For 12 to 21 days, up to 2 pounds of grain and fat is forced down ducks and geese ' throats every day by a feeding tube, a process known as gavage.

The birds ' livers become engorged and can expand as much as 12 times their normal size, so much so that they protrude from the animals ' bellies. The birds have difficulty standing, and become so stressed that they tear out their own feathers. Many suffer from internal hemorrhaging, fungal and bacterial infections, and hepatic encephalopathy, a brain ailment caused when their livers fail.

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Marcia Keith, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, has stated that "[f]orcing animals to overeat to the extent that their livers are expanded to 10 to 12 times the normal size and then feeding those livers to humans as a delicacy seems barbaric, senseless and clearly unnecessary. "

His Holiness Benedict XVI has condemned foie gras, and many restaurants and hotels in no longer offer it. The Smithsonian Institution previously canceled a lecture seminar on foie gras, the Boston Symphony Orchestra removed foie gras from its Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic, and Williams-Sonoma stopped selling foie gras in its catalog. Even before the ban was announced, famous chef Charlie Trotter refused to serve foie gras in his Chicago restaurant.

Few people find it acceptable to cause such grotesque suffering for the sake of a "delicacy. " It 's time to ban foie gras, not just in Philadelphia, but everywhere.

 

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Heather Moore is a freelance writer and a senior writer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in Norfolk, Va., where she lives with her rescued dog, Carly. Heather frequently writes on animal rights and health issues as a freelance (more...)
 

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