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.
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