I recently wrote about the plight of Guillermo Gonzalez, a California foie gras farmer, who operates his business legally and in compliance with state regulatory agencies: in short, he's being attacked by Animal Rights activists who wish to put him out of business. In that post, I linked to the NAIA website that has taken up Mr. Gonzalez defense, and which makes a compelling case - from the facts of foie gras production, as opposed to the emotional distortions of it conjured by Animal Rights activists - that the ducks used in the process aren't cruely treated or abused by any meaning of the words other than the expanded, incendiary definitions so favored by Animal Rights activists. The NAIA page also outlines the structure of a classic animal rights attack (under the heading "The Combat Plan") as it has been used against Mr. Gonzalez.
Regardless of the facts, the AR people have succeeded in persuading a California State Senator (John Burton) to introduce a bill (SB 1520) to ban the production of foie gras in California. The bill is to be heard in committee this coming Monday (April 26 , 2004).
For those of us who are committed to the (rational) animal-welfare approach to the human/animal interface, as opposed to the (incoherent and unworkable) Animal Rights ideological approach, opposition to this bill provides us a timely opportunity to speak our piece in a good cause, and perhaps even have some positive effect.
If you're interested, you can find an outline of the Gonzalez case, with links, and the names and addresses of California legislators who would be thrilled to hear from you here.
UPDATE: 4/28/04 Unfortunately, the proposed ban on foie gras (SB 1520) was passed out of committee by a narrow 4-3 vote. Support for the bill was described as "tepid" and was achieved only when its sponsor, the powerful Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, did a little one on one convincing of reluctant committee members.
There was something of a compromise - with the bill being phased in over 71/2 years, but the fines for violating the proposed law would be draconian to say the least: $1000 fine per bird per day.
Don't ever sell the AR people short.
I'm not sure when the bill will come before the full legislature. As I learn more, I'll update here.