Today, a federal appeals court decided to uphold California's statewide ban on the production and sale of foie gras, the French delicacy of fattened duck or goose liver. The ban went into effect on July 1, 2012.
The plaintiffs - the Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec (a Canadian association of duck and geese farmers), California-based Hot's Restaurant Group and New York's Hudson Valley Foie Gras - asserted the ban interfered with interstate commerce and was too vaguely worded.
Judge Harry Pregerson wrote the opinion for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying: "Plaintiffs give us no reason to doubt that the State believed that the sales ban in California may discourage the consumption of products produced by force feeding birds and prevent complicity in a practice that it deemed cruel to animals."
Some residents of Grand Isle, Vermont, don’t want to talk about what happened in that blue building on Pearl Street. Others have an awful lot to say on the matter.
A cattle trailer, spray-painted in red with the Animal Liberation Front’s acronym “ALF,” still sits out front of the complex now shrouded in overgrown weeds.
It’s an eerie reminder of the events just four years ago that thrust this tiny town of fewer than 2,000 people into the national spotlight.
In October 2009, the now-deserted structure – which once housed the veal processing plant Bushway Packing Inc. - was permanently shut down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after an animal protection organization, the Humane Society of the United States, revealed an undercover video showing plant workers kicking, dragging, stunning and skinning live calves that were less than a month old.
It was yet another blow to the U.S. veal industry, which has long been mired in conflict with animal welfare groups because of its use of crates to restrain the calves’ movement.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, consumers seldom cite animal welfare as a concerning food issue but express it as “a matter of high concern” for veal.
But just 40 miles from where that horrifying video was filmed in Grand Isle, in the small town of Fairfield, Vermont, the folks behind Stony Pond Farm are among a number of smaller-scale dairy farmers trying to persuade consumers and fellow farmers alike to think outside the pen when it comes to veal – and they’re aiming to make more humane rearing and slaughtering practices an industry standard.
Video via KOMO
Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of barbecue across the United States. SFA filmmaker Joe York wrote this remembrance of pitmaster Ricky Parker after attending Parker's funeral on Wednesday, May 1, in Lexington, Tennessee.
They buried Ricky Parker yesterday. A few miles down the road from the cinder block pits where he cooked whole hogs for more than half his life, from the sliding glass window where he sold sandwiches, from the creosote-stained door where he hung the “SOLD OUT” sign every afternoon to let the latecomers know not to bother, they gathered to say they were sorry, to say goodbye, to say that they didn’t know what to say.
They dressed him as he dressed himself. In blue Dickies, a tan work shirt with a pack of Swisher Sweets peeking from the breast pocket, and his burgundy and brown ball cap resting on the ledge of coffin, he went to his reward. The only thing missing was his greasy apron. I imagine it hangs on a nail somewhere back by the pits where he left it.
Police in China have spent three months seizing bogus meat, some of it fake beef or mutton made out of fox, mink and rat.
They snatched up around 20,000 tons of illegal products, according to state news agency Xinhua.
In 382 cases, officials arrested 904 suspects for passing off counterfeit meat, meat injected with water or diseased flesh to consumers, the news agency said.
When you shop for turkey burgers for dinner tonight, you may be buying more than meat.
Find yourself befuddled at the butcher counter by terms like "top loin chop" and "pork rump"? A new consumer-friendly universal meat labeling system is about to help cut through the confusion.
Two of the country's largest meat councils, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, have unanimously agreed to implement a more uniform and descriptive labeling system for commercially-sold cuts. The revised Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards or URMIS was developed in conjunction with the with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service and Food Safety Inspection Service, and introduces a new common name standard designed to help consumers make more informed shopping decisions.
The system, which will apply to 350 cuts of beef and pork (with lamb and veal to join later) introduces a label that includes:
Is the United States closer to allowing horse meat production? On Friday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Oklahoma Meat Inspection Act, ending the prohibition on horse meat processing for export in Oklahoma. House Bill 1999, sponsored by state legislators Rep. Skye McNeil and Sen. Eddie Fields, passed 82-14 in the House and 32-14 in the Senate.
While the sale of horse meat for human consumption would still be off the table in Oklahoma, on November 1, 2013, the state will join the 46 others that allow equine slaughter. However, no states have processed horse meat since federal action in 2007, and bills pending in Congress would prohibit horse slaughter.
Advocates for the Oklahoma legislation said it's in the best interest of animals that would otherwise be abused, neglected, starved or sent to Canada and Mexico to meet a painful end in an unregulated plant.
Dying to try lion? If you live in Illinois, you'd better get your fix quickly before proposed legislation would make the "mane" course a Class A misdemeanor.
Illinois State Representative Luis Arroyo proposed HB 2991 to the state's General Assembly last month. If the Lion Meat Act passes, Illinois will become the first U.S. state to forbid lion slaughter, or for any person to possess, breed, import, export, buy or sell lions for the purpose of slaughter - making it illegal to serve or sell lion meat at restaurant, hotel or other commercial establishment. Offenders would face a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 if convicted.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, lions are not currently protected as an endangered cat in the U.S., and there are no laws prohibiting its sale. It also falls outside the USDA's inspection parameters and under those of the Food and Drug Administration, which categorizes lion as a "game meat."
Still, the king of the jungle doesn't exactly abound on American menus, so why is Arroyo mounting an attack?