Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time


California’s Foie Gras Ban Has Far Reaching Implications

October 15, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

In a major victory for ducks, geese and their advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the California law banning the sale and production of foie gras. The Court’s decision sends a strong message to other states that they can, as  California Attorney General stated, pass laws that “prohibit the sale of products based on concerns about animal welfare.”

Force feeding

Force feeding

Described by activists as a “delicacy of despair,” foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks and geese through metal pipes until their livers become diseased, swelling up to ten times their normal size. The pipes are inserted 12″ down their esophaguses three times daily in the weeks leading up to slaughter.

In 2013, Mercy For Animals used hidden cameras at the nation’s largest producer to document the abuse inherent in foie gras production:

The fight to ban foie gras has taken many turns. In Chicago, a 2006 ban on the sale of foie gras was reversed in 2008, representing a major setback for activists who lobbied tirelessly in support of the law. In England, on the other hand, the group Hertfordshire Animal Rights has stopped the sale of foie gras at least six restaurants since August.

PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk in London

PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk in London

The Artisan Farmers Alliance, a trade association for America’s three foie gras producers, is working to curb bans on foie gras by “educating the public about our centuries-old farming practices” and by “defending the rights of consumers to make their own decisions about food.” Of course, it is the job of activists to defend the ducks and geese from animal exploiters who spin cruelty into freedom of choice.

Your Turn

Please sign the current petition to ban the production and importation of foie gras in Europe.

Filed under: Food, Investigations
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Shortest Animal Rights Campaign In History?

September 23, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Eight hours after an animal rights group asked its supporters to leave comments opposing foie gras on the Facebook wall of The Sopwell House, the well-known hotel and spa in England announced that it will remove foie gras from its restaurant’s menu. It was that easy.

“We have reconsidered our offerings, and this dish will now be removed by our Executive Head Chef. Kindly note that it will take a couple of weeks for our menus to be reprinted. However, please be reassured that we are no longer serving foie gras.”

Sopwell House ends sale of foie gras

Sopwell House to remove foie gras from menu

In response to the news, Hertfordshire Animal Rights spokesperson Tod Bradbury said, “We would like to publicly thank Sopwell House for listening to the concerns of the public. Foie gras does not belong in a civilised society – it is undeniably cruel. We hope Sopwell House can be an inspiration to other purveyors of foie gras in the area.”

Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks and geese through metal pipes until their livers become diseased, swelling up to ten times their normal size.

foie gras force feeding

Hertfordshire Animal Rights has stopped the sale of foie gras at five restaurants in England since August and intends to continue its campaign until the region is foie gras free. In the United States, the production and sale of foie gras were banned in California in 2012. A similar ban was passed in Chicago in 2006, but it was overturned in 2008.

In his 2011 book The Foie Gras Wars, Chicago Tribune reporter Marc Caro profiled the Humane League of Philadelphia’s multi-year campaign to stop the sale of foie gras in local restaurants. According to activist Nick Cooney, who ran the campaign, between 80% – 85% of the targeted restaurants ultimately removed foie gras from the menu.

foie gras wars

Your Turn

As evidenced by the victories in England, California and Philadelphia, grassroots activism works. If you live near a restaurant that serves foie gras, then you can employ the same tactics used by Hertfordshire Animal Rights and the Humane League to campaign against the sale of foie gras. To learn more, please watch Farm Sanctuary’s undercover investigation of a foie gras farm.

Filed under: Food
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Chicago Bans Sale of Commercially bred Dogs, Cats & Rabbits

March 5, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

According to the Chicago Tribune, the City Council today voted 49-1 to ban the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in Chicago. According to a City clerk, the law “cuts off a pipeline of the animals coming from the horrendous puppy mill industry and instead moves us towards a retail pet sales model that focuses on adopting out the many, many homeless animals [from shelters and rescues] in need of loving homes in this city.” Chicago joins Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and many other U.S. cities have already instituted a ban. In January, New York state passed a law giving local municipalities the power to impose their own regulations on pet sales, according to the Daily News. The NYC Council has since introduced a bill that would prevent city pet stores from buying cats and dogs from unlicensed breeders.


News & Opinion

Until every homeless animal in a shelter or at a rescue finds a forever home, we must continue to lobby for the passage of laws banning the sale of companion animals from commercial breeding operations. And, even then, we must always fight for the closure of puppy mills, which are cruel and dangerous businesses that treat animals like commodities. To anyone working in animal rescue, the “kill lists” are a daily reminder of the crisis of overpopulation and the importance of adoption and animal birth control. If helping homeless animals is important to you, please consider volunteering at a local shelter, helping place animals in foster homes, lobbying for laws banning the sale of commercially bred animals, and, of course, encouraging people to adopt, not shop.

Filed under: Companion Animals, Victories
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Will Chicago Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages?

February 5, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Taking the lead from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago lawmaker Ed Burke has introduced a bill to ban horse-drawn carriages. According to the Chicago Tribune, Burke says “They’re a nuisance, they’re a traffic hazard, it’s cruel to the animals, and we should be able to beat New York City to the punch.”

Miracle Mile in Chicago

Miracle Mile in Chicago

News & Opinion

By forcing horses to pull carriages in the streets with aggressive taxi drivers, ambulances and buses, we are treating them like motor vehicles instead of living, breathing animals. For that and many other reasons, horse-drawn carriages cannot be operated humanely or safely in urban areas. Several major cities, including London, Beijing, Paris and Toronto have already banned horse-drawn carriages, and NYC and Chicago are on the brink of doing the same. But we need to help the horses pulling carriages in other cities around the world from Boston to Mumbai. To find out how you can help, please visit the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.

Filed under: Entertainment
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