BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 1520
                                                                  Page  1

          SB 1520 (Burton)
          As Amended June 21, 2004
          Majority vote

           SENATE VOTE  :21-14  
           BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS        9-4                             
          |Ayes:|Correa, Bermudez,         |     |                          |
          |     |Corbett, Koretz, Leno,    |     |                          |
          |     |Nation, Negrete McLeod,   |     |                          |
          |     |Vargas, Yee               |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |Nays:|Shirley Horton,           |     |                          |
          |     |Aghazarian, Maldonado,    |     |                          |
          |     |Maze                      |     |                          |

           SUMMARY  :  Prohibits, effective July 1, 2012, the force-feeding  
          of a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond  
          normal size.  Prohibits a product from being sold in California  
          if it is the result of such force-feeding.  Specifically,  this  
          bill  :   

          1)Prohibits a person from force-feeding a bird for the purpose  
            of enlarging a bird's liver beyond normal size, or hiring  
            another person to do so. 

          2)Prohibits a product from being sold in California if it is the  
            result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging  
            its liver.

          3)Includes in the definition of "bird," but does not limit the  
            definition to, a duck or goose.

          4)Defines "force feeding" of a bird as a process that causes the  
            bird to consume more food than a typical bird of the same  
            species would consume voluntarily while foraging.  

          5)Provides that force-feeding methods include, but are not  
            limited to, delivering feed through a tube or similar device  
            inserted into the bird's esophagus.


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          6)Authorizes a peace officer or officer of a humane society or  
            animal control agency to issue a citation to a person or  
            entity that violates these provisions.

          7)Requires payment of a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each  
            violation, and up to $1,000 for each day the violation  
            continues, payable to the local agency initiating the  
            citation, to offset costs.

          8)Authorizes the district attorney or city attorney to prosecute  
            a person or entity that violates these provisions.

          9)Prohibits any civil or criminal cause of action as a result of  
            an entity engaged in an act prohibited by these provisions,  
            between January 1, 2005 and July 1, 2012, including any  
            pending actions.

          10)States the intent of the Legislature in delaying the  
            operative date of these provisions to allow entities engaged  
            in agricultural practices that include raising and selling  
            force fed birds to modify their business practices.

          11)States the support of the Legislature for the following:

             a)   Assistance in identifying alternate business  
               opportunities for California businesses that currently rely  
               on the sale of force fed birds; and,

             b)   Assistance in finding alternate employment, or providing  
               job training for, employees of California businesses that  
               currently rely on the sale of force fed birds.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown.  This bill is keyed non-fiscal.

           COMMENTS  :   

          1)Purpose of this bill.  According to the author's office, this  
            bill is intended to prohibit the force feeding of ducks and  
            geese for the purpose of enlarging their livers beyond their  
            normal size.  Force feeding is the common method used to  
            produce foie gras and is accomplished by restraining the bird  
            and inserting a 10- to 12-inch metal or plastic tube into the  
            bird's esophagus and delivering large amounts of concentrated  
            meal and compressed air into the bird.  This process is  


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            repeated up to three times a day for several weeks until the  
            liver reaches the desired size and the bird is slaughtered.   
            The author's office contends that the force feeding process is  
            so hard on the birds that they would die from the pathological  
            damage it inflicts if they weren't slaughtered first.  
          2)Background.  Foie gras is a French term meaning "fatty liver"  
            and is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese large amounts  
            of meal that enlarges their livers.  A fatty liver was  
            produced traditionally from geese.  However, in recent years,  
            there has been widespread change to the use of ducks rather  
            than geese, mainly for financial reasons.  The duck chosen for  
            foie gras production is a hybrid between a Muscovy duck and  
            the domestic duck.  European countries such as France and  
            Hungary are among the largest producers. 

          In the United States there are three producers of foie gras,  
            Hudson Valley Foie Gras Company and La Belle Poultry in  
            upstate New York, that together produce about 90% of foie  
            gras, and Sonoma Foie Gras (SFG) that provides about 10% of  
            the domestic supply.  SFG has a farm with about 20,000 ducks  
            in the Central Valley and ships between 1,000 and 1,500 ducks  
            a week, selling all the duck meat, not just the livers,  
            nationwide through Grimaud Farms.  There are about 14  
            employees at SFG with annual sales of about $1.5 million, with  
            60% of its business coming from selling foie gras. 

          3)Other countries.  There are at least 14 countries that have  
            banned the practice of force feeding birds to produce foie  
            gras, either with explicit language in the laws, or as part of  
            the general animal cruelty law.  As of January 2004, Italy  
            banned foie gras production, following the lead of Austria,  
            the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg,  
            Norway, and Poland.  Other countries whose laws have been  
            interpreted to ban the force feeding of birds for foie gras  
            production include Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the  
            United Kingdom.  Perhaps most significantly, Israel, once the  
            world's fourth largest foie gras producer, recently banned  
            foie gras production.  

          4)Grocers are refusing to purchase foie gras.  According to  
            recent press articles, Trader Joe's and other grocers have  
            decided to stop carrying all duck meat and foie gras.  Whole  
            Foods Market, which is a national chain headquartered in  


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            Austin, Texas with over 145 stores and $3.2 billion in sales,  
            announced that it is developing enhanced animal-treatment  
            standards, starting with those for ducks, and expects to  
            implement the new standards by the end of 2004.  Grimaud  
            Farm's which sells Muscovy ducks to Whole Foods and other  
            high-end retailers, and is also the custom processor for SFG,  
            would be the most impacted.  Whole Foods has made it clear  
            that they do not want any of their producers to be connected  
            with any foie gras company. 

          5)Arguments in support.  According to the proponents, the foie  
            gras industry has attempted to justify the practice of force  
            feeding by claiming that it takes advantage of a bird's  
            anatomical abilities, mimicking the natural tendency of birds  
            to overeat in preparation for migrating.  They argue that this  
            is a specious argument for several reasons.  First, while some  
            geese and ducks do put on fat stores for migration, the  
            Muscovy duck is a tropical bird that does not migrate in the  
            wild.  The Pekin duck (which the Muscovy is crossed with to  
            produce the Mullard duck commonly used in foie gras  
            production) is completely domesticated and incapable of  
            flying.  Therefore, it is much less likely that this type of  
            duck has such a potential to store such amounts of food during  
            force-feeding.  Second, under no conditions would ducks gorge  
            themselves to the extent that their liver was swollen 10 times  
            its normal size.  As they point out by way of studies, the  
            health of the duck in foie gras production is compromised to  
            such a great degree that the birds would die if they weren't  
            slaughtered after being subjected to the force feeding process  
            for just a few weeks.  Finally, the diet forced upon the birds  
            is severely deficient in several ways and is destined to  
            produce physiological suffering.  It forms an unbalanced diet  
            intended to artificially induct hepatic lipidosis in the  
            liver.  If it were given under natural conditions, the birds  
            would refuse it.  Even if the food was given in normal  
            quantities, the birds could not survive due to the  
            deficiencies that it would lead to in the long term. 

          6)Arguments in opposition.  A coalition of several groups is  
            opposed to this bill, which includes, among others, the  
            California Farm Bureau, the California Grain and Feed  
            Association, the California Poultry Federation, and the  
            California Restaurant Association.  There are also numerous  
            restaurants, chefs, businesses and individuals who are opposed  
            to this bill.  Opponents contend that the production of foie  


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            gras is not unethical, nor harmful to ducks.  In fact, as  
            opponents argue, the process during which the foie gras is  
            produced mimics a natural process during which ducks gorge  
            themselves prior to migration.  In addition, the USDA inspects  
            and approves each fatty liver destined for consumption.  They  
            argue that the product is safe; and if it were found to be  
            contaminated or diseased, it would be destroyed before  
            consumption.  Opponents further argue that banning a specific  
            product based on emotion rather than fact is a dangerous  

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Renee' L. Brooks / B. & P. / (916)  

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