Compassion Over Killing, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, and Animal Protection & Rescue League, and several concerned individuals joined forces to file a lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for allowing the sale of a diseased poultry product commonly known as foie gras.
Foie gras, which means “fatty liver,” is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese multiple times a day for weeks. As a result of pumping large quantities of food into their stomachs, their livers swell up to ten times the normal size – a condition known as hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. In other words, foie gras is, by definition, the product of a diseased animal.
The USDA, however, is required through the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) to condemn as adulterated all diseased poultry. According to the lawsuit filed today, the USDA is allegedly violating the PPIA by failing to condemn foie gras, and thereby allowing the sale of an adulterated diseased poultry product.
Foie gras production not only induces a disease in ducks and geese, but it’s considered so cruel that it’s been banned in several countries as well as the state of California (ban takes effect July 1, 2012). In fact, COK’s investigation inside a foie gras factory farm in New York uncovered what can only be described as a torture chamber: birds are grabbed by their necks or wings and a metal pipe is shoved down their throats in order to forcefully pump large quantities of food into their stomachs. This process itself causes the birds to suffer immensely, let alone the pain and discomfort caused by fatty liver disease. And it should come as no surprise that foie gras farms have high mortality rates. Those birds who do survive this process are then shackled upside-down and have their throats slit often while fully conscious.