Federal Judge Overturns Foie Gras Ban; You Still Don’t Need to Eat it

In a setback for animal advocates, a federal judge struck down California’s Foie Gras ban this past Wednesday. The Los Angeles Times reports that U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled that the ban was unconsitutional because it clashed with existing federal laws on poultry products. Foie Gras is a product that has been under fire due to its controversial and cruel method of production: force feeding a duck or goose until it develops liver disease, resulting in a fatty liver. Considered a French delicacy, California was the first and only state to ban the production and sale of Foie Gras through a bill passed by its state legislature in 2004. The bill went into full effect in 2012.

A Goose being force fed for Foie Gras.

A Goose being force fed for Foie Gras.

One example of a dish using Foie Gras.

One example of a dish using Foie Gras.

This ruling raises concerns regarding the future of California’s battery cage egg ban. The LA Times states that, “Experts said the ruling would have no bearing on California’s new egg law, which requires more space for laying hens, because eggs aren’t covered by the Poultry Products Inspection Act.” However, an issue around the 2013 Farm Bill (read our article about it here) was the King Amendment, which although not ultimately passed, attempted to regulate states’ ability to regulate any agricultural products that impacted interstate commerce, such as egg production. This bill was introduced by Iowa Senator Steve King. This is no surprise as California, the most populated state by far, consumes an enormous amount of eggs while Iowa produces the most. Back in 2013, I went back and forth with Pennsylvania (another large egg producing state) U.S. Rep Glenn Thompson on this issue.

There is hope, however. While there is reason to be skeptical that voters and representatives can regulate agriculture in their own communities, the Foie Gras ban, as well as other organizations, have brought light to this issue. If you oppose Foie Gras, you probably won’t eat it. Individual decisions can have just as strong of an impact as any state law. Refuse Foie Gras and avoid establishments which serve it.

And if you do eat it, well, you’re just an asshole.

Sources: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-foie-gras-ban-lifted-20150108-story.html

Images:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/Foie_gras_en_cocotte.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/Foie_gras_-_gavage_in_Rocamadour,_France.jpg

Sustainability, Ag-Gag, and the Fight to End Animal Cruelty

If you haven’t seen it, Rolling Stone has released a disturbing but well-done piece of some of the horrors of large scale animal agriculture, as well as considerations of sustainability and the menacing threat of ag-gag, which I previously declared war on. The piece is titled “Animal Cruelty is the Price We Pay for Cheap Meat” (click title to access the article). Thanks to Paul Solotaroff for this effective piece of journalism and bringing attention to one of society’s most threatening social problems in a mainstream magazine. Its a sad read and feel free to avoid the videos if you don’t care for graphic content, the words are enough. Share this with who you think would benefit. This article explains a lot of the motivations for why I am who I am today.

Some Animal Welfare Hits

Hi all,

Happy humpday, I hope you are all surviving! A few articles came my way today that I felt spark interesting debate and bring perspective. The first being from the Detroit Free Press, which discusses the approval of two animal abuse bills in the Michigan Senate, which will increase the penalties for animal abusers, including a five year adoption ban for convicted individuals. I have always pushed, along with many other Michigan-based animal protection agencies, the implementation of a public registry of animal abusers. This could thus be used to protect animals and citizens who are seeking to adopt animals or seeking adopters for their current pets, as well as for those who are looking to hire caretakers. Although these bills do not appease me entirely, I believe they are a step in the right direction and am happy that these protections are being discussed.

Secondly, here is a sad, but important, piece on animals who have drowned in natural disasters, due to being locked up in the basements of medical and/or university laboratories. The authors offer some possible solutions to the problem. 

Finally, here is an interesting piece on the impact of global warming on big game in Michigan, which is relevant for many other states.

There is a lot of news flooding in and I felt the need to share some, but it is great to see all the wonderful and compassionate work people and organizations are doing! Cheers!

Image

My amiga at Farm Sanctuary!

Image: Mark Suchyta, Urban Hermits

 

Calling All Hermits: Fight Animal Cruelty!

Sim LakeMy fellow hermits,

I come to you with a heavy but important topic. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has “filed a brief in a landmark federal case against a couple accused of making graphic animal torture videos for viewers” (ALDF 2013). As this article explains (WARNING! GRAPHIC CONTENT), a Texas couple was arrested earlier in the year for producing home videos of animals being tortured for what they considered a pornographic enterprise. However, ALDF explains, “On April 27, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Sim Lake, in the Southern District of Texas, ruled that the conduct in the videos was not obscene and the Act infringed upon the First Amendment rights of the defendants. Last Friday, federal prosecutors filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit. ALDF’s amicus brief supports this appeal, arguing the Act is limited in scope to obscene videos of animal torture for the sexual gratification of viewers.” It is up to you if you would like to read the ALDF article, as it is very disturbing, but I am providing  you here with what you need to know. If you would like to fight against this cruelty and support ALDF’s drive for justice, consider making a donation here. If you would like to let Judge Sim Lake know how you feel, you can reach his Houston office at 713-250-5177 and leave him a message, as Lauren and I both did today. Finally, let your lawmakers know that you demand protections against this cruelty by singing ALDF’s Animal Bill of Rights.

Hopefully, I have something more upbeat for my next post!

For now, you know what to do,

-Mark

Source: ALDF.org