House passes Potter bill prohibiting force-fed poultry products
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Brandon Potter to prohibit the production, sale or importation into Rhode Island of any force-fed poultry products. The bill now goes to the Senate.
The bill is aimed at preventing animal cruelty by prohibiting foie gras, which is created from the enlarged fatty livers of intentionally overfed geese or ducks. Poultry raised for foie gras are force-fed multiple times a day through metal pipes to intentionally inflict fatty liver disease upon them, causing their livers to enlarge to as much as 10 times their ordinary size.
“Force feeding birds to intentionally give them a disease is obviously animal cruelty. It’s not acceptable to subject animals to this type of suffering for the sake of human pleasure. Foie gras is considered by some to be a delicacy, but it is one that we should absolutely reject for the immense cruelty of the method with which it is produced,” said Representative Potter (D-Dist. 16, Cranston). “Rhode Islanders have shown time and time again that they care about animal welfare, and I believe the vast majority of Rhode Islanders would not support the heinous practices that are used to produce foie gras.”
According to Representative Potter, the bill would affect fewer than 20 restaurants that have the dish on their menus. The bill would not affect any farms in Rhode Island, since none raise birds for foie gras.
The legislation (2022-H 6663) would prohibit the production, sale, or importation into Rhode Island of any force-fed poultry product or food containing a force-fed poultry product and would impose a civil penalty $500 for each violation. It would become effective Jan. 1.
California has passed similar legislation, as has New York City. More than a dozen countries have banned the practices used to produce foie gras.
The legislation is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Defenders International, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals and Rhode Island Vegan Awareness. It is cosponsored by House Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14 Cranston, Providence), Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), Rep. Rebecca Kislak (D-Dist. 4, Providence) and Rep. Jacquelyn Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston).