Our vision​ is a world without animal suffering where all beings are treated with compassion.

Humane Action Pittsburgh Applauds Pittsburgh City Council for Passing Landmark Bill Banning the Sale of Foie Gras

Legislation is critical in building national momentum to stop egregious products resulting from confinement and force-feeding

PITTSBURGH, PA – December 18, 2023 – In a groundbreaking move toward animal welfare and ethical consumption, the Pittsburgh City Council passed a bill to ban the production and sale of foie gras within city limits by a vote of 7 – 2. This historic decision marks a significant step in promoting the humane treatment of animals in the food industry and reflects the city’s commitment to fostering compassion and responsible practices.

Foie gras, a controversial “delicacy” made from force-feeding ducks and geese several times a day with metal tubes to enlarge and purposefully disease their liver with a condition called steatosis, has long been a subject of ethical debate. Birds are confined in distressing, unnatural circumstances, and force-feeding causes pain, distress, physical injury, and psychological dysfunction in the birds. The ban on its sale in Pittsburgh aligns with growing public sentiment and international efforts to address animal welfare issues in the food production chain. Pittsburgh joins many countries, including Australia, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, Turkey, the state of California, and many cities across the U.S., placing restrictions on foie gras production and/or sale.

Councilman Bruce Kraus and Councilperson Erika Strassburger championed the bill in Council.

“I’m immensely proud of the Pittsburgh City Council for taking this stand,” said Natalie Ahwesh, executive director of Humane Action Pittsburgh, who initiated the legislation. “The ban on foie gras sales reflects our values and acknowledges the importance of responsible and more compassionate practices in our community.”

“This victory showcases the power of collective action and our shared commitment to creating a core compassionate society,” said Dr. Karen Phillips, founder of Hope Haven Farm
Sanctuary in Sewickley, who has rescued muscovy ducks from the foie gras industry. “We are grateful to the City Council for recognizing the importance of this issue and taking a proactive stance to protect animals from egregiously inhumane treatment.”

The ban on foie gras sales aligns with Pittsburgh’s continued efforts to prioritize ethical practices and animal welfare, solidifying its position as a city dedicated to fostering a humane environment. The bill builds on previous animal welfare bills initiated by Humane Action Pittsburgh and passed in Pittsburgh, such as PA’s first ban on selling puppy mill dogs in pet stores, a ban on using instruments inflicting pain on circus animals, which prohibits the circus from coming to town, and a law making it illegal to harm wild birds.


Regional Initiatives

HAP provides sound research and answers for the most egregious animal issues in the Pittsburgh region that legislators rely on to set policy and enact animal protective law.

Become a voice for animals by joining our Action Team.  We’ll provide all the tools you need to educate lawmakers about current legislation affecting animals.

Habitat Regeneration

As more of us recognize the inextricable link between ending the climate crisis and the humane treatment of animals, we understand that global warming will not be resolved without habitat  protection across the globe.

Since 1970, global wildlife populations have diminished by 60% and birds in the United States and Canada have declined by 29%, yet the production of livestock has tripled.

HAP is hosting forums and programs that help each of us do our part to bring carbon dioxide emissions to net zero, thus leveling off global warming and allowing the planet to regenerate for  animals, ourselves, and future generations of all sentient beings. 

State and Federal Initiatives

HAP collaborates with leading organizations in the nation to form coalition partners throughout  Pennsylvania and across the country to prevent cruelty to animals.  Will you be their voice?

Become a champion for animals by joining our Action Team.  We’ll provide all the tools you need to educate lawmakers about current legislation affecting animals.

Compassionate Living

Being conscientious about everything we wear, eat, drive, throw away, or protect matters like never before.  Living compassionately is kind to animals, key to planet sustainability, and good for your heart health too.

Fundraising events, even those held by animal advocates, environmentalists, and human health professionals, are still serving meat and using too much plastic, contradicting the very mission of their organizations.  HAP’s resources can help you host an event to remember that is both cruelty-free and regenerative.  Make a positive change with our everyday compassionate lifestyle programs.

What we do


Learning the most effective tools in animal protection is step one


Prevention through policy, because rescue isn’t enough.

Community Action

With strength in numbers, we give animals a voice where it matters most.

Our Victories
Passage of the Reptile Ordinance

On Tuesday, March 23, Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed Ordinance No. 36, which bans the ownership of any Crocodilian species or any Red-eared slider, which includes alligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials, and red-eared slider turtles.

Our Victories
Pittsburgh Zoo Starting AZA Accreditation Process

Following years of behind-the-scenes work by HAP leadership, on Friday, March 19, the Pittsburgh Zoo announced they were finally beginning the process of achieving AZA accreditation once again.

Our Victories
Arrests Made for Pigeon Poisoning

On Tuesday, March 23, four people were arrested after a HAP member found ten pigeons convulsing on the ground near the Frick Building downtown Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day last year.

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