Foie Gras, with Hollande-aise Sauce

Seth Victor

Recently French President François Hollande pledged to fight California’s ban on foie gras. How he plans to do this, I am not sure, and the president himself has admitted that he cannot fight the law directly. Fearing that California’s legislation will encourage other states and, perhaps closer to home for the new leader, other EU countries to implement similar laws, he vows to use free trade treaties to continue to export this traditional French product while “bombard[ing] US political leaders with gifts of foie gras ‘for their own great enjoyment.'” How kind of him. Continue reading

Odd Animal Laws, Odd Culture

This is a guest post by Kenji Crosland, a writer for TeachStreet.  Teachstreet is a website that provides online and local classes, including classes on law and pet training classes.

In the effort to preserve a certain semblance of order certain laws (don’t steal, don’t kill) have been universal since Hammurabi, although the punishments for disobeying these laws have varied greatly. Laws concerning animal cruelty, however, are unique in that they are not necessarily “required,” to keep the peace.  For a society to establish animal cruelty laws it needs to reach a certain level of moral development.  These laws, just like the humans who created them, however, aren’t perfect, and those imperfections can give us insights into a particular culture.

These days, India and countries in Europe seem to be the most progressive, while others like China are slowly adding laws to the books.  The US is a study in contrasts: while some states are on the progressive side, there are others that are far from it.          Continue reading

Toro!

Seth Victor

Progressive news today, as the Spanish region of Catalonia voted 68 to 55 to ban bullfighting. The ban will take effect in January 2012.  This is the first such ban in mainland Spain, a country where the “sport” has a long tradition. This decision is a huge development, proving that animal abuse should not be tolerated simply because it is cultural or traditional. NYT has the story here. For any Spanish readers, check out the post by Fundación EquAnimal, reporting a little closer to the action, here.

Does the Winter Mean Fur Coats?

Simona Fucili

As the holiday season is approaching, one cannot help notice all of the fur ads you see in magazines and commercials.  The ads portray fur coats as a symbol of elegance and status but fail to show how the original owners of these coats met their gruesome deaths.  According to the Spanish animal-rights organization Igualdad Animal, four hundred thousand minks are killed and turned into fur coats every year.  The organization advocates for the abolition of animal slavery and has been researching the killing of mink to produce fur coats.  Some of Igualdad Animal’s research was recently highlighted by a press agency that focuses on Mediterranean countries referred to as ANSAmed.

November is usually the month where mink farms prepare to harvest the mink fur.  This year, Igualdad Animal Organization decided to videotape this process through the use of hidden cameras.  This ghastly video was distributed through the online version of the Publico newspaper to illustrate “the other side of the fur business and the suffering behind the elegance of a mink coat.”  The video shows a very cruel reality of the harvesting of mink fur.  It vividly illustrates where conditions the mink live in, as well as, the cruel procedure used to separate the fur from the animal.  In the video, you can see that the minks are usually killed by carbon monoxide blown from the exhausts of large tractors.  In addition to the images shown in the video, the organization took more than 650 pictures from various farms in Spain during different hours.  All the material was collected and distributed as part of an investigation conducted by Igualdad Animal organization.  The results of the investigation were published on the Piel Es Asesinato website.

Continue reading