BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


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                              UNFINISHED BUSINESS

          Bill No:  SB 1520
          Author:   Burton (D)
          Amended:  8/17/04
          Vote:     21

          AYES:  Figueroa, Cedillo, Murray, Vincent
          NOES:  Aanestad, Brulte, Machado

           SENATE FLOOR  :  21-14, 5/18/04
          AYES:  Alarcon, Alpert, Bowen, Burton, Cedillo, Dunn,  
            Escutia, Figueroa, Florez, Karnette, Kuehl, Murray,  
            Perata, Romero, Scott, Sher, Soto, Speier, Torlakson,  
            Vasconcellos, Vincent
          NOES:  Aanestad, Ackerman, Ashburn, Battin, Brulte, Denham,  
            Hollingsworth, Machado, Margett, McClintock, McPherson,  
            Morrow, Oller, Poochigian
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Chesbro, Ducheny, Johnson, Ortiz

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  46-28, 8/24/04 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Force fed birds

           SOURCE  :     Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
                      Farm Sanctuary
                      Los Angeles Lawyers for Animals
                      Viva!USA - International Voice for Animals

           DIGEST  :    This bill, commencing July 1, 2012, prohibits a  
          person from force feeding a bird for the purpose of  
          enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size, and  


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          prohibits a product from being sold in California if it is  
          the result of force feeding of a bird. 

           Assembly amendments  :  until July 1, 2012, prohibit an  
          existing or future civil or criminal cause of action for  
          engaging in an act prohibited by the bill, from proceeding  
          against a person or entity engaged in, or controlled by  
          persons or entities who were engaged in, agricultural  
          practices that involved force feeding birds at the time of  
          the enactment of this bill.

          ANALYSIS:     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  

          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.  

          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  


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          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.Specifies that the limited immunity from liability  
             provided in this bill is not applicable to acts  
             committed on or after July 1, 2012, nor is it applicable  
             to persons or entities who were not engaged in, or  
             controlled be persons or entities engaged in, practices  
             of force feeding at the time of enactment of this  


           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 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.  


          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.  


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          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 percent  
          of foie gras, and Sonoma Foie Gras (SFG) that provides  
          about 10 percent 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 percent of its  
          business coming from selling foie gras.  

           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.  

          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 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.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No    
          Local:  No



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           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/6/04) (unable to re-verify at time  
          of this writing)

          Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (co-source) 
          Farm Sanctuary (co-source) 
          Los Angeles Lawyers for Animals (co-source) 
          Viva!USA - International Voice for Animals (co-source) 
          American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
          Animal Legal Defense Fund
          Animal Legislative Action Network
          Animal Protection and Rescue League
          Animal Protection Institute
          Avian Welfare Coalition
          Best Friends Animal Society
          California Federation for Animal Legislation
          California Lobby for Animal Welfare
          California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
          Contra Costa Humane Society
          Davis Food Co-op
          East Bay Animal Advocates
          Freedom for Animals
          Harper, Valerie
          Hastings Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
          Hayward Friend of Animals Humane Society
          Humane Education Network
          Humane Farming Action Fund
          Humane Society of the United States
          In Defense of Animals
          Institute for Wildlife Studies
          International Bird Rescue Research Center
          Last Chance for Animals
          Los Angeles Lawyers for Animals
          Natural Foods Co-op
          Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation
          Pet Adoption League
          Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
          Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals
          Senior Citizens for Humane Legislation
          Silicon Valley in Defense of Animals
          Silverstone, Alicia
          Sir Paul McCartney
          The Fund for Animals, Inc.


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          The Paw Project
          United Animal Nations
          United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
          World Society for the Protection of Animals
          Numerous individuals

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  5/6/04) (unable to re-verify at  
          time of this writing) 

          California Cattleman's Association
          California Farm Bureau Federation
          California Grain and Feed Association
          California Poultry Federation
          California Restaurant Association 
          Pacific Egg and Poultry Association
          Numerous individuals

          per Committee analysis:
          Animal Owners and Animal Enterprises
          California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
          Golden Gate Restaurant Association
          Hotel Council of San Francisco
          NAIA Trust for the Protection of Animals
          San Mateo County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
          Sonoma Foie Gras 
          U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

           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  


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          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.  

           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 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  precedent.  

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :
          AYES:  Bates, Berg, Bermudez, Chan, Chavez, Chu, Corbett,  
            Correa, Diaz, Dutra, Dymally, Firebaugh, Frommer, Garcia,  
            Goldberg, Hancock, Shirley Horton, Houston, Jackson,  
            Kehoe, Laird, Leno, Levine, Lieber, Liu, Longville,  
            Lowenthal, Maddox, Maldonado, Montanez, Mullin, Nakano,  
            Nation, Negrete McLeod, Oropeza, Pavley, Plescia,  
            Richman, Ridley-Thomas, Simitian, Steinberg, Vargas,  
            Wesson, Wiggins, Yee, Nunez
          NOES:  Aghazarian, Benoit, Bogh, Calderon, Campbell,  
            Canciamilla, Cogdill, Cox, Daucher, Dutton, Harman,  
            Haynes, Jerome Horton, Keene, La Malfa, La Suer, Leslie,  
            Matthews, Maze, McCarthy, Mountjoy, Pacheco, Parra,  
            Runner, Spitzer, Strickland, Wolk, Wyland


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          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Cohn, Koretz, Nakanishi, Reyes, Salinas,  

          CP:nl  8/25/04   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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