Famed talk show host and television producer Oprah Winfrey recently threw a
lavish ball to honor the 25 black women who she admires most, but dishonored
animals by including dishes like veal and foie gras on the menu. Veal and
foie gras represent the extreme end of cruelty in the animal agriculture
industry. We petition you Oprah to refuse to serve foie gras again. We also petition you to and to let the world know how much suffering these defenseless animals endure by addressing this issue on your show.
Famed talk show host and television producer Oprah Winfrey recently threw a lavish ball to honor the 25 black women who she admires most, but dishonored animals by including dishes like veal and foie gras on the menu. Veal and foie gras represent the extreme end of cruelty in the animal agriculture industry.
We want to commend you for honoring many of the great black women of our
at your recent Legends Ball in Santa Barbara. These women all deserve
recognition for their valuable contributions to the world. However, it
upset us to learn that veal and foie gras were served at the dinner.
Veal and foie gras represent the extreme end of cruelty in the animal
agriculture industry. Veal is made from baby male calves who are taken
their mothers at one day old, then forced to live in tiny crates that keep
them immobile for 12 to 15 weeks just so their flesh will be tender at
slaughter. Foie gras is made from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese
have so much corn mush mechanically forced down their throats that many
from ruptured stomachs and punctured windpipes. A recent law will make the
production and sale of foie gras illegal in California by 2012, and
compassionate legislators in Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon and New York
have introduced bills to ban it in their states. We understand that your intention was to honor your distinguished guests by
serving them something special, but there can be no justification for the
amount of suffering forced on calves, ducks and geese for veal and foie
Foie gras, considered by some to be a delicacy, is produced by forcing
a long metal pipe down the throats of ducks and geese and force-feeding
them massive amounts of grain, resulting in their livers swelling to up
to 10 times their normal size. According to ABC7 news in San Francisco,
"At least three times a day, a worker grabs each duck, shoves a long,
thick metal tube down [his] throat and an air pump shoots up to a pound
of corn into the duck."
A duck's liver naturally weighs around 50 grams. However, to qualify as foie gras, international regulations require ducks' livers to weigh an absolute minimum of 300 grams.
To enlarge the ducks' livers to this extent, enormous quantities of
grain are forced down these birds' throats. On average, they are
force-fed 20-30% of their body weight each day. In human terms, this
would mean that a 150-pound person would be forced to consume 30-45
pounds of food per day! If this were being done to dogs or cats, let
alone to humans, it would be considered torture.
The vast amounts of feed pumped down the ducks' throats causes enormous
internal pressure, and the pipe sometimes punctures the esophagus,
causing many to die from choking on the blood that fills their lungs.
Some birds literally burst, choke to death on their own vomit, or
become so weak that they are unable to fend off rats from eating them
alive. Other ducks die a slow, painful, and premature death by
suffocation from inhalation of regurgitated feed. In fact, because of
the massive toll taken on the birds during the force-feeding process,
the average pre-slaughter mortality rate is up to twenty times higher
than on other duck factory farms.
In addition to enduring force-feeding, the birds also suffer the same
neglectful and abusive treatment of other factory-farmed animals:
overcrowding, mutilations (their beaks are cut off), all their natural
instincts and desires-such as interacting in social groups, mating
freely, keeping themselves clean, nurturing their young, exploring
their surroundings-thwarted, and eventually being sent to slaughter.
Throughout the weeks of force-feeding, the birds are kept in either a
group pen or an individual cage with only wire or plastic-mesh floors
to stand and sleep on. Unable to feel the sun on their backs or ground
beneath their feet, the ducks are held in cages so small that they
cannot fully stand or stretch their wings.
We petition you Oprah to refuse to serve foie gras again. We also petition you to and to let the world know how much suffering these defenseless animals endure by addressing this issue on your show.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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