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In World’s Foie Gras Capital, the “Delicacy of Despair” is Coming Under Fire

December 31, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Eighty percent of the world’s foie gras is produced in France, where it is protected by law as part of the country’s “cultural and gastronomical heritage.” But even in France, where it is regarded by many as a food group, the delicacy of despair is coming under fire.

Photo: L214

In the past several weeks, three incidents have compromised foie gras’ once esteemed place in French society.

1. A poll taken in France shows increased opposition to foie gras.  In December, 47% of those surveyed said they would support a ban –  a 3% increase from 2013. In addition, 77% said they would prefer foie gras that was not made through gavage, French for force feeding. (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 gullets three times daily in the weeks leading up to slaughter.)

"No. Not again."

Gavage (force feeding)

2. Legendary actress Brigrette Bardot filed a formal appeal with the EU Commission to ban the production of foie gras. In an open letter to the  Health Commissioner, she argued that, because many EU countries have already outlawed force feeding, the EU Commission should “harmonize laws against this cruel and barbaric practice” by banning it in all member countries. After all, she says, force feeding “goes against European values of promoting animal welfare.”

Photo: Corbis

Photo: Corbis

3. British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal dropped his foie gras supplier in France after The Daily Mirror released footage of dead and injured ducks that a veterinarian described as a “representation of hell.” A spokesman for his restaurant, which is ironically named Fat Duck, said, “We were shocked at the video and the conditions in which the ducks were apparently being kept.” Fat Duck is currently closed for renovations, but the menu on its website does not contain foie gras.

Chef Heston Blumenthal at Fat Duck in the U.K. (photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Chef Heston Blumenthal at Fat Duck in the U.K. (photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

The movement to ban foie gras is still young, but significant progress has made. In 2004, California banned the production and sale of foie gras. The law went into effect in 2012. In October, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the California law, sending 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.”

In the U.K., foie gras production is illegal, and activist groups are advocating to end the sale. Since August, Hertfordshire Animal Rights has stopped the sale of foie gras at least six restaurants.

Hertfordshire Animal Rights

Hertfordshire Animal Rights

Israel, India and Argentina have imposed restrictions on the production, sale and/or importation of foie gras.

After France, the world’s largest producers of foie gras are Hungary (8%) and Bulgaria (6%). The U.S. produces just over 1% of the world’s supply.

As the public is increasingly exposed to the cruelty of foie gras production, “tradition” will become a much weaker justification. After all, if Barcelona can ban bullfighting, then France can – and eventually will – ban force feeding.

Your Turn

Please share this story to educate others about the cruelty of foie gras, and please sign the petition to ban the production and importation of foie gras in the EU.

If you have never seen force-feeding, please watch this video created by Last Chance for Animals.


Filed under: Food, Victories
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Burberry: Unaware or Willfully Blind?

September 16, 2014 by Leave a Comment


News & Opinion

In a statement to Vogue denying that it buys rabbit fur from the factory farms exposed in a new undercover video, fashion giant Burberry says it “will not use fur if there is concern that its production has involved the unacceptable treatment of animals.” Intense confinement and anal electrocution are standard practices in the fur industry. Is either “acceptable” to Burberry?

Burberry fur

photo: 2dayblog.com

To make matters worse, Burberry’s use of the phrase “all natural” in defending its use of fur, but “natural” fur is exactly what we are trying to eliminate! Did Burberry think the word “natural” would appease its critics who are advocating for fake fur?

Burberry executives and other fashion houses that use fur are either unaware of the atrocities or are turning a blind eye for the sake of profits. It’s no wonder activists have to jump onto the runway during fashion shows to get their attention.

Your Turn

Please visit endfahsioncruelty.org to take action on behalf of fur bearing animals.


Filed under: Clothes
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Video: Top Fashion Designers Revealed as Customers of House of Horrors

September 11, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and Giorgio Armani have refused to comment after being revealed, along with many other world-renowned fashion designers, as customers of fur farmers who were caught on video torturing rabbits.

Last Chance For Animals and Animal Equality, which conducted a two year undercover investigation of 70 rabbit fur farms in Spain, chose fashion week to release both the names of the customers and the outrageous footage taken during their investigation.

Your Turn

Advocates for animals employ many different approaches to ending the horrific fur trade. Some lobby lawmakers to ban the sale of fur; others work to educate or shame fur consumers, designers, retailers; and a small number break into fur farms and liberate animals in the dark of night, at times permanently shutting down the operation.

Regardless of strategy, what we share in common is outrage that millions of helpless animals are intensely confined, abused, neglected and deprived for their entire lives before being executed and skinned – all for the purpose for vanity.

Please visit endfahsioncruelty.org to take action and be a voice for these animals.


Filed under: Clothes
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Pet Store Owners Attempt to Set Puppies on Fire to Collect Insurance

March 18, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

The NY Times reports that pet store owners in Las Vegas attempted to set their puppies on fire in order to collect insurance money: “Security video (see video blow) showed a woman letting a man in through the back door; he splashed a liquid from two gas cans around the shop, even into the cages, and ignited newspapers. The sprinkler system doused the fire, and firefighters rescued the dogs.

News & Opinion

Being burned alive would have been a fitting end to a life in which puppies are kidnapped from their mothers and confined in cages at the puppy mills and in the pet store where they are ultimate sold as merchadise. With homeless shelters for animals killing thousands of healthy animals every year and rescue groups trying to find families for countless animals, why do municipalities even allow the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores? Thankfully, some cities, such as Chicago and L.A., have banned the sale of commercially bred pets. Last Chance for Animals offers advice on how to end the sale of puppy mill animals in your area.


Filed under: Companion Animals
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