Address to the National Assembly of France
By Pamela Anderson
Pourquoi le Foie Gras?
(Why Foie Gras?)
Pourquoi Cette Misére?
(Why Such Misery?)
In many national cultures there seems to be at least one cruel tradition that stands out as identifying that culture, be it the bullfight in Spain, the eating of dogs in Korea, the slaughter of dolphins and whales by Japan or the bloody and obscene massacre of seals in my own native Canada.
In 1977 Brigitte Bardot came to Canada to focus international attention upon the baby seal slaughter. I was 10 years old at the time yet she inspired me to actively oppose the cruel clubbing of seal pups and to recognize that animals must have a right to not be cruelly abused by humans.
And now in honour of Brigitte Bardot, I as a Canadian, have come to France to voice my opposition to an industry that is equally as cruel as the baby seal massacre – the cruel treatment and slaughter of ducks and geese for another non-essential luxury product – fois gras!
Where Brigitte Bardot spoke for Canadians opposed to the slaughter of baby seals, I come before you to speak for French citizens opposed to the cruelty inflicted upon ducks and geese.
In France the primary cultural image of French cuisine is of the forced feeding and slaughter of some 80 million duck and geese every year.
As a Canadian I am ashamed of the brutal clubbing of baby seals and thus I have empathy for the many French citizens who also experience both shame and sadness at the misery suffered by these very sociable birds.
What is foie gras?
Some call it a delicacy and the premier traditional dish of French cuisine although it’s origin goes back to the cruel days of the Roman Empire and to Egypt to the days when the ruthlessness of humanity drove species to extinction and cruelty was the hallmark of barbaric cultures.
Today we need to evolve beyond barbarism and ignorance and to be blunt foie gras is simply a diseased liver and that disease is called hepatic steatosis or fat liver disease. What this means is that these animals are forced to suffer excruciating pain and diarrhea, inflammations and injures throughout their short lives until the day they are slaughtered.
What we see in the stores are sterile tins of a product all packaged neat and pretty, masking the reality of what is really inside.
On the outside we see pictures of beautiful, happy and contented ducks and geese walking about in in an idyllic rural environment that they have never experienced.
Inside the tin is the diseased liver of a once living creature that never spent a single day of happiness or contentment, a bird that should have been born to fly, to swim and to nest with a mate but instead was forced to endure misery from birth to death every single day of its life.
Those who eat this product simply deny the soul of these birds and in so doing they deny the merciless cruelty these birds are forced to endure. They are removed from the reality of the duck or the goose as a social, feeling, self-aware sentient being.
Born into captivity under dim industrial lights, derived of the sun, a place to swim, room to spread their wings and soft bed of grass to lie upon and instead forced to suffer steel and rubber tubes shoved down their throats, tearing internal tissues, causing infections and open sores, ruptured stomachs, living in cramped cages lying in their own feces and vomit, crawling with parasites and maggots and surrounded each day by the corpses of the birds that the daily forced potions of antibiotics failed to keep alive.
And all of this for the purpose of grotesquely enlarging their livers by intentionally inflicting a debilitating and painful infliction upon them sothat this obscenely filthy diseased organ can be marketed to the public as a symbol of French cuisine.
High in fat, riddled with antibiotics and oozing toxins, foie gras is not a natural food and certainly not a healthy food. It is simply a status product to be consumed by people who have chosen to disassociate themselves from the filth of the cages where the birds are born and subjected to months of agony in a human created hell where the moans and shrill cries of pain echo though dark buildings where the light of the sun never penetrates and where the stench of rotting carcasses permeates the air.
Dante himself could not have visualized a more demonic level of hell than that which humans have devised for the industrialized raising and slaughter of some 65billion animals each and every year and this includes the 80 million birds annually tortured and slaughtered in France for the production of diseased liver that poses as a cultural food.
Foie gras has been outlawed in India, Israel, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Scandinavia, Great Britain and Ireland, Italy, Polandand other countries. It is banned in California. The bans are in place because citizens in these countries hold that foie gras is a cruel product that has no place in civilized society.
Article L214 of the French Rural Code designates animals as "sentientbeings" under the laws of France and states that "Any animal, being a sentient being, should be placed by its owner in conditions compatible with the biological requirements of its species."
What is the point of passing laws that allow for the cultural exemption of such laws based on the discrimination of a species due to the exploitation of that species for profit?
If the law recognizes that animals as sentient beings should be provided with the biological requirements of their species, how can the conditions utilized for foie gras production be held consistent with L214?
The French organization L214? has thoroughly documented and exposed the horrors of filth and misery that is the foundation of the foie gras industry. Over 80 Frenchanimal welfare and animal rights organizations including the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and Sea Shepherd have condemned the suffering and thousands of organizations worldwide including PETA, Mercy for Animals and my own foundation are campaigning against the production of a product considered to be both cruel to birds and unhealthy to humans
Historically France has blazed a path on many fronts for human rights, for freedom, for conservation and the environment. Now is the time to champion the rights ofanimals to be free of suffering.
I would like to respectfully request that France embrace the qualities of compassion, empathy and respect for the lives of animals. I would like to respectfully call for the abolition of an industry that profits from horrific misery and abuse to produce a product that is toxic to not just the bodies of those that consume it but is also toxic to the hearts and souls of all of humanity.
We need to strive towards a world that lives in harmonious interdependence with other species and to search for a way to remove the obscene veils of death and cruelty from all human cultures.
So in my name, in the name of Brigitte Bardot and on behalf of all animal advocates, I would like to call on the French deputies to abolish force-feeding and I call on the French people to no longer eat foie gras, a cruel luxury that is the cause of such gross suffering and agony for 80 millions birds every year.