Following the release of disturbing footage obtained at the largest foie gras producer in the U.S., the animal advocacy organization Mercy for Animals (MFA) is calling on Amazon.com to ban the sale of foie gras.
An undercover investigator for MFA documented numerous issues at the New York-based Hudson Valley Foie Gras, which is a supplier to Amazon, that ranged from workers violently handling and feeding ducks and injured ducks left to suffer without veterinary care to dead ducks filling trash cans and ducks being hung up and having their throats slit while they were still fully conscious.
Hudson Valley is no stranger to the spotlight. It’s been called out in court for false advertising for calling itself the “Humane Choice” when it comes to foie gras production and has been hacked by activists who were targeting customers and chefs in California who continue to flout the state’s ban.
Foie gras itself is no stranger to controversy. Its production involves force-feeding restrained ducks by shoving metal pipes down their throats multiple times a day, called gavage, and pumping them full of grain, or corn and fat, which leads to acute hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, which in turn leaves ducks suffering with malfunctioning livers that are ten times their normal size.
According to MFA, workers at Hudson Valley admit that the feeding process is “so abusive that ducks routinely die from it,” while others die as a result of their enlarged livers pressing against their lungs, which makes it impossible for them to breathe.
The organization believes Amazon has “both the power and ethical responsibility” to help end foie gras production by banning its sale, as it’s done with whale meat and shark fin soup.
The site’s sellers are not impressed and hope Amazon does nothing, reports the Seattle Times. At least one misses the point entirely.
“If they’re successful in influencing Amazon to stop selling foie gras, it will impact my small business considerably,” said Laurel Pine, who sells Hudson Valley’s foie gras on the site. “I don’t believe there’s any valid rationale to it. Foie gras is a wholesome product approved by the federal government.”
Right. If the feds approved it, it must be good. It’s questionable whether the United States Department of Agriculture should be approving foie gras at all. It’s been sued by animal advocacy organizations who claim that in doing so, it’s violating the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), which prohibits the sale of diseased poultry.
As far as ‘wholesome’ goes, foie gras has been linked to amyloidosis and other diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.
The practice is also widely considered cruel and inhumane by many and has already been banned in a number of countries, while several others have a ban on force-feeding. Major retailers including Costco and Target, among others, have also taken a stand against foie gras and refuse to sell it. Hopefully, Amazon will be next on the list to join them.
For more info on MFA’s campaign, visit AmazonCruelty.com.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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