D’Artagnan, Inc. has reluctantly agreed to stop claiming in its advertising that the ducks whose engorged livers are used in its foie gras are “hand-raised with tender care under the strictest of animal care standards.” They further have ceased saying that the ducks’ livers are “not diseased” but “simply enlarged.” The company’s shift comes in response to a decision by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which concluded that the claim about the ducks’ livers was not adequately substantiated. The NAD further concluded that the claim about the degree of care the animals receive “suggests a level of care and oversight that is not supported by the evidence provided by the advertiser and is inconsistent with the evidence in the record.” Full story here.
This would all seem like a major coup — the self-regulating arm of the advertising industry smacks down the deceptive rhetoric of the duck liver trade. The celebration pales, however, when one views the revised claims now found on the company’s website. The statement that “The liver is not diseased, simply enlarged,” now reads : “According to published research * (partially funded by animal welfare agencies), the liver is enlarged but not diseased.” The tender care claims have been refashioned as well. The company claims that: “The art of raising ducks and geese for foie gras combines a low-stress environment (birds experiencing stress produce very low quality foie gras), high-quality corn, clean water, and kind handling.”
Pyrrhic victory anyone?
Update: This excellent piece on the Bocuse D’Or cooking competition (more or less the cooking Olympics) has a stark and thoughtful discussion on foie gras. Well worth a read.
Filed under: animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal welfare | Tagged: animal abuse, animal ethics, animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, Council of Better Business Bureaus, duck liver, ducks, foie gras, National Advertising Division |