U P D A T E D
By Patrice Greanville
CALIFORNIA gets a big “Bravo!” in this quarter for being the first state in the union to ban the force-feeding of animals in the production of food. We are certain not everyone will cheer. Addiction to some foods is hard to break, and besides not everyone, even among sincere animal defenders, is or will ever be a vegan. But that’s the direction that humanity should take. Compassion is one of the noblest virtues and we violate it with banal abandon at our own peril.
YET, AS EXPECTED, THE OPPOSITION TO THIS BAN has been mobilizing. Read the update below by Katie Waldeck, and an excellent comment stream from the Care2 site devoted to animal questions.
Foie Gras Ban is… Unconstitutional?!
• By Katie Waldeck, Care2
• July 5, 2012
In 2004, animal rights activists applauded the first-in-the-nation ban on foie gras in the state of California. And nearly 8 years later, the ban on the production and sale of the French delicacy has finally gone into effect. But not without controversy. Foie gras, French for fat liver, is produced by force-feeding geese or ducks far more food than they would eat both in the wild and domesticated. The large, fatty livers that geese and ducks experience as a result of over-eating cause a number of serious health consequences in the birds.
The California law, aimed at these inhumane production methods, bans all products made from force-feeding birds. Now, a New York-based foie gras producer, a Los Angeles restauranteur and a Canadian exporter are seeking to overturn the law. They filed suit against the state of California under the claim that the law violates the Constitution’s commerce clause.
According to the plaintiffs, the wording of the law is so vague because it, “defines ‘force feeding’ as using a process that causes a bird ‘to consume more food than a typical bird of the same species would consume voluntarily.’ In practice, the vagueness of this purported standard makes it impossible for anyone to know at what point a particular bird has been fed ‘more food’ than the Bird Feeding Law allows.”
So, will this lawsuit be successful? Only time will tell. For now, though, plaintiffs’ lawyer also plans to file an injunction that would halt the law while the matter is sorted out in U.S. district court.
It should be noted that the combined donations to environmental and animal causes (of which the enviros take the lion’s share) barely reach 2% of all giving, literally at the bottom of the priorities ruling American giving, with a measly $6.6 Billion received in 2010. This figure is disgraceful when compared to the enormous needs we confront in every area of activism. Furthermore, since we’re on the topic, it must be said that in a more just, egalitarian and properly organized and governed society (read: a truly democratic society), many of these billions would NOT be needed, indeed, private charity itself would not be necessary. For example, allocations to education, international affairs, arts & culture, public society benefit, human services, and health, totaling $120.04 Bn, about 41% of the total given, would be covered by national taxation, as it should, for what are legitimate taxes but the will of the people? (I’m speaking theoretically here, folks, don’t laugh.)
The original communiqué—
5 July 2012
CA Foie Gras Ban Takes Effect
By Doris Lin, About.com Guide July 5, 2012
The foie gras machine, next to some very unlucky inmates. A barbaric custom with no real ethical defence, like fur coats and fox-hunting. The force feeding machine rolls up and down the aisles between rows of caged ducks. [Photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary]
California’s foie gras ban that was signed into law in 2004 took effect on July 1, 2012. Foie gras is the fattened liver of a duck or goose, and is considered one of the cruelest factory farming practices. The liver is ten times its normal size as a result of force-feeding the birds through a metal tube shoved into their throats. The law prohibits force-feeding birds for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver, and prohibits selling the products that result from force-feeding. Because the only way to produce such an unnatural product is through force-feeding, the sale and production of foie gras is effectively banned.
CA is the first state in the U.S. to ban foie gras, but a 2006 ban in Chicago was in effect for two years before it was overturned. Israel, South Africa and several European nations have banned the force-feeding of animals for food production.
The animal rights position is that veganism is the solution because any animal use violates that animal’s rights. While some farming practices may be more cruel than others, there is no such thing as humane animal agriculture.
Comments (original threads)
Thank you for sharing.
Let’s keep this award-winning site going!
Yes, audiences applaud us. But do you?
If yes, then buy us a beer. The wingnuts are falling over each other to make donations…to their causes. We, on the other hand, take our left media—the only media that speak for us— for granted. Don’t join that parade, and give today. Every dollar counts.
|Use the DONATE button below or on the sidebar. And do the right thing. Even once a year.|
Use PayPal via the button below.