Anonymous for Animal Rights
POB 11915, Tel-Aviv 61119 , Israel
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Parliamentary Committee in Israel :
The Ministry of Agriculture Should Organize to the Complete Ban on Force Feeding of Geese
In a hearing on March 2 nd , 2004, the Israeli Parliamentary Committee on Education (which is on charge of the Animal Protection Law), made it clear that it will block any attempt to go around the Israeli High Court's decision from August 2003 to ban the force-feeding of geese.
The committee discussed a request of the Minister of Agriculture to prolong regulations that permit force-feeding of geese for another year - the maximum that had been allowed by the Court: While banning force-feeding, the Court allowed for a transition period up to March 2005 before the ban comes into force.
The committee rejected the request. The regulations were only prolonged for 6 months, during which the committee demanded the Ministry to show that it works to create the infrastructure to end the force feeding industry. The committee stated that any proposed regulations aimed to "reduce suffering" during force-feeding instead of prohibiting it altogether are not acceptable. The committee demanded that instead of focusing on such regulations, the Ministry should discuss mechanisms that will ensure alternative employment and livelihood for people currently dependent on the industry.
During the last few months the Ministry of Agriculture and the industry were trying to pave a way around the High Court decision. Their idea was to design regulations that will reform and "humanize" force-feeding, and to label the "new" method as something substantively different from the procedure banned by the Court. However, "humane force-feeding" is a contradiction in terms. A less harmful alternative for the production of foie-gras does not exist. Can such an alternative exist, considering that the desired result is foie-gras, a sick organ? The Committee's decision determines that this tactics will not pass its scrutiny.
Force-feeding of geese and ducks is used to produce "foie-gras" - swollen and fatty liver. A number of times each day a tube is forced down the bird's throat and large amounts of high-energy food are forced to the bird's stomach. The procedure is violent, harmful and aversive. By the end of the force-feeding period the surviving birds are sick, and have difficulties even in breathing and walking.
Force-feeding is already banned in many countries around the world - including some that closed existing industries. Currently, the campaign against this form of abuse has caught high velocity also in the United States .
The committee's decision was taken unanimously, with the support of Knesset Members from the right and left, and from non-religious and ultra-religious parties. KM Mr. Ilan Shalgi, the Committee's chairperson emphasized that the aim should be the complete shutting down of the force-feeding industry. MK Mr. Yossi Sarid called the existing regulations, which pretend to regulate force-feeding under the Animal Protection Law "Orwellian". MK Mr. Eitan Kabel warned from repetitive extensions before force feeding stops. MK Mr. Meshulam Nahari emphasized the value of animal protection in Judaism and cited one of Israel 's leading Rabbis who found foie gras production to be in violation of Jewish law. MK Mr. Uri Ariel, traditionally identified with the agricultural lobby surprised everybody when he backed the Committee's decision and said that other agricultural practices should be dealt with just as well.
This support from wall to wall was the result of concerted efforts to push the geese's cause through the media and through intensive lobbying. Members of the Committee had told us they were surprised by the huge amount of letters they had received. Anonymous' lobbyists made sure to contact and persuade each member of the committee in advance. And a few days before the meeting, in a colorful public event, Anonymous presented the Committee's chairperson with petitions signed by around 50,000 people, calling for a complete ban on force feeding. The preparation work, conducted by Anonymous for Animal Rights, was done with the continuous and generous support of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
Hagai Cohen, one of the leading activists in the campaign: " Israel is the third or fourth producer of foie gras worldwide. Poland stopped force feeding. The Chech Republic stopped it. Italy stopped it. Israel is stopping it. It is now the time for California and New York to follow up. It is unbelievably cruel, it must stop - and together we can stop it wherever it is done."
For pictures of force-feeding go to:
For background on the Court's decision and the campaign:
Thank You letters to the Committee's Members can be sent by regular mail to:
MK Mr. Ilan Shalgi, MK Mr. Yossi Sarid, MK Mr. Eitan Kabel, MK Mr. Meshulam Nahari and MK Mr. Uri Ariel, all in the address: HaKnesset, Jerusalem, Israel.