Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal shelter and advocacy organization, today released a new Zogby International poll that reveals that 91 percent of likely voters in New York think that taxpayer dollars should not be used to subsidize Hudson Valley Foie Gras Farm. In addition, the poll shows that three out of four (77 percent) of likely voters favor an all out ban on foie gras in New York state.
When Governor George Pataki awarded a $420,000 grant of taxpayer money to Hudson Valley Foie Gras late last week through the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), both New York State Senator Liz Krueger and New York State Assemblyman, Jack McEneny, who introduced a bill last year to outlaw foie gras production, criticized the Governor's irresponsible decision. Senator Kruger stated, "It is simply mind-boggling the ESDC would find the subsidizing of the cruelty to animals to be an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars."
Foie gras (French for "fatty liver") is produced by force feeding ducks as a pipe is thrust down their throats and large quantities of food are pumped in. The practice causes the birds' livers to expand up to ten times their normal size, and makes it difficult for the birds to walk or breathe comfortably. The foie gras industry even admits that the process would be fatal if the ducks were not slaughtered just at the point of death.
Gene Bauston, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, an organization headquartered in New York that is engaged in a nationwide campaign to prohibit the cruelty of foie gras, stated, "I'm appalled that Governor Pataki would allocate funds to support a cruel farm that produces an expensive appetizer eaten by a few consumers. Governor Pataki should work for the public good rather than serving the interests of one, very wealthy, factory farmer."
Foie gras production is prohibited in more than a dozen European countries, as well as Israel, once the world's third-largest producer of the product. In 2004, California passed a law to ban the production and sale of this fatty liver product, and Massachusetts is now considering a similar measure. The Chicago City Council banned the sale of foie gras within the city in an historic vote in April 2006.
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