Charlotte Laws, Ph.D.
Member of the
 Greater Valley Glen Council
21781 Ventura Blvd., Suite 633
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Tel.  818.346.5280
Fax.  818.985.1690

Dr. Charlotte Laws - Councilperson Valley Glen

Governor Schwarzenegger Signs SB 1520 - Terminating Form of Animal Cruelty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2004

Sacramento, CA - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed SB 1520 into law, a bill that bans the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras. The bill also bans the sale of the product when made from force fed birds, both provisions taking effect in California in the year 2012.

SB 1520 was authored by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, who took on the legislation because he felt that, "Cramming food down a duck's throat to make a gourmet item known as foie gras is not only unnecessary, it's inhumane."

The bill was supported by Martin Sheen, Sir Paul McCartney, Kim Basinger, Alicia Silverstone, James Cronwell, Noak Wyle, Charlotte Laws, Linda Blair, Tippi Hedren, Rue McClanahan, Pamelyn Ferdin, Persia White and Mary Tyler Moore. It also was supported by a broad coalition of animal protection groups, including the sponsors: the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, Farm Sanctuary, the League for Earth & Animal Protection, Los Angeles Lawyers for Animals and Viva!USA.

Animal advocates hailed SB 1520 as a major victory for the ducks and geese. Approximately 20,000 ducks are force fed and slaughtered every year by Sonoma Foie Gras, the sole California producer of foie gras. Moreover, the legislation is considered historic in the protection of animals, as it is one of a few times that a state has banned an inherently cruel factory farming practice.

Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese large amounts of food so that their livers swell to up to 10 times normal size. A pipe is shoved down the bird's esophagus and food is forced into the stomach. The process is repeated two or three times daily for two to three weeks until the birds develop fatty liver disease. The birds are then slaughtered to produce foie gras.

In signing the bill, Schwarzenegger took a significant step in demonstrating his commitment to animal welfare. Burton also showed he's a true friend of the animals by shepherding the bill through the Legislature.

The only other foie gras farm in the United States is located in New York, and legislation is pending in that state to ban the practice. Several other countries, including Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the majority of provinces in Austria, have already banned force feeding to produce foie gras.

To view the Foie Gras legislation.

To read the Committee Analysis of the Bill.

Governor Signs Bill To End Form of Animal Cruelty