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Activists film cruelty to ducks at foie gras plant


DawnWatch: Video of foie gras horrors in Canada media -- Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Major media across Canada today, Wednesday July 11, reports on gruesome undercover video taken at a Quebec foie gras farm.
At the website for Canada's largest privately-owned television network, CTV, you can read the story and also watch the reports, which include some of the footage.
Go to http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/ 20070710/foie_gras_070710/20070710/ 
OR TO http://tinyurl.com/2me7wd
On the right side of the page, click on the links under "video" to watch the reports.

We hear, "All the females end up in the garbage where they just suffocate to death. It's because they produce smaller livers," as we see awful shots of ducklings struggling and smothering in garbage bins.

And we hear:

"Ducks are force-fed -- a process called gavaging -- to enlarge their livers to 10 times their normal size. Activists consider that alone to be a cruel activity. But the workers are also shown kicking the smaller ducks and killing them by hitting them against a post."

We see that footage too.

Andrew Plumbly, spokesperson for the Global Action Network says in the piece:
"It's impossible to produce foie gras humanely, and thus, we need to get rid of this."

While the piece also includes a brief quote from a different producer who says he treats his animals kindly, the bulk of the piece focuses on the abuse behind foie gras. Please thank the station! The more attention the story gets, the more likely we are to see follow-ups, meaning that everybody who ever watches the CTV news will see the shocking reality of foie gras.

CTV is taking feedback on this story at http://tinyurl.com/yq6hpf

Canada's Globe and Mail carries the story, by Ingrid Peritz, on Pg A7, headed "Activists go undercover to curb public's appetite for foie gras in Quebec."

It opens:

"The images are gruesome. A live duck is hurled against a cement pillar and another has its head pulled off while farm employees trade banter. Other ducks are crammed into holding pens to await their force-feedings.

"The pictures were released by a Montreal animal-rights group yesterday in order to head into uncharted territory: Taking the anti-foie-gras movement into the foie gras capital of Canada.

Andrew Plumbly is quoted:

"These images reveal the inherent cruelty involved in the production of foie gras. Our hope is that once consumers see what actually happens in foie gras production, they will stop consuming it."

The article tells us:

"Global Action Network teamed up in its undercover operation with Farm Sanctuary, a U.S. animal-protection group. Mr. Plumbly says an activist got a job at Élevages Périgord southwest of Montreal, the largest duck foie gras producer in Canada, and worked undercover for three months from last fall to early this year."

It ends with:
Globe Action Network forwarded the video to the provincial police and filed a formal complaint. A police spokesman said it is investigating to see if federal animal-cruelty laws were broken.

You'll find the whole article on line at http://tinyurl.com/2qzzec

The Gazette, from Montreal, headed its story, by Jasmin Legatos, "Activists hope graphic video will dampen appeal of foie gras" (Pg A6)

It opens:
"Foie gras gourmets in Quebec will be compelled to change their dining habits after viewing the alleged animal cruelty captured on video by a Montreal animal welfare group, the organization's director said yesterday."

It also quotes Plumbly, who says "Employees would routinely kick the ducks as they were loading them into trucks or would throw them into the air," and would also rip the heads off small or sickly ducks.

The article gives us information on the anti foie gras movement:

"Last year, Chicago, in a move that angered many of its top chefs, banned the sale and production of the fatty liver. California is set to follow suit in 2012. Many European countries, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Poland, have also banned the sale of foie gras within their borders. But France, the world's largest producer of foie gras, has ignored international condemnation. In 2005, the French senate passed a law declaring foie gras part of the country's national heritage."

You will find the whole article on line at
http://tinyurl.com/2xr6k3

After you have thanked CTV, above, please consider dashing off quick letters to the editor so that the story stays in the press. You may wish to discuss foie gras in particular, or food production in general.

The Globe and Mail takes letters at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/feedback/ (Choose letter to the editor)

The Montreal Gazette takes letters at letters@thegazette.canwest.com
Include your full name, address and telephone number.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com .


Activists film cruelty to ducks at foie gras plant
Jasmin Legatos, The Gazette
Published: Tuesday, July 10

Global Action Network, a Montreal-based animal welfare group, is set to unveil secret footage cataloguing animal cruelty at Canada's largest foie gras producer tomorrow.

The video was compiled between November 2006 and February 2007 by a volunteer at the organization who infiltrated Elevages Perigord in St. Louis de Gonzague, about 55 kilometres southwest of Montreal, while working undercover at the farm.

It shows employees wrapping ducks and ducklings deemed too small to gavage - the force-feeding process that fattens the ducks liver for consumption, in garbage bags and hitting them against the wall, or stomping on them in order to break their necks, said Andrew Plumbly, the director of Global Action Network, this afternoon.


****Although the footage does not directly implicate the farm's owners, Plumbly says their investigator's testimony shows that management at Elevages Perigord, a subsidiary of French-owned Excel Development, are aware of the cruel acts employees at the farm practice against the ducks.

Management at Elevages Perigord have thus far been unavailable for comment.

As the popularity of foie gras has soared amongst foodies and non-foodies alike, so has the condemnation. The practice of gavaging, in which up to one kilogram of food is shoveled through a metal tube down a duck's throat in one sitting, is called especially cruel by animal welfare groups.

Several countries in Europe have banned the production and sale of the fatty duck liver including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Poland. Last year, Chicago followed suite and by 2012, the sale and production of foie gras will be illegal in the state of California.

Quebec is a large producer of foie gras and its industry produces 8500 duck livers a week.

The Global Action Network handed over their evidence to police Friday and the Surete du Quebec is currently investigating. In order for animal cruelty to be proved under Canadian law, the crown prosecutor must prove that the employees and management at Elevages Perigord intended to be cruel.

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