Animal rights activists protested in front of an IGA on Rene Levesque Boulevard and St. Urbain on Wednesday, Oct. 6, condemning the sale of foie gras at the supermarket chain.
The protest was organized by the Concordia Animal Rights Association (CARA).
Lucas Solowey, Co-President of CARA said the production of foie gras is very cruel, “and often times the [birds] will vomit up blood.”
“They have a responsibility to stop selling such a cruel product, and if they don’t stop selling it, they have to be held accountable,” he added.
Foie gras, which is French for “fatty liver”, is made by force-feeding ducks and geese through metal pipes until their livers expand by six to ten times their natural size. It is a popular delicacy in Quebec, with more than 8,000 ducks processed each week.
The protest marked the beginning of CARA’s campaign against foie gras. Solowey told The Concordian the aim is to run a successful boycott campaign, and get a majority of restaurants and grocery stores to stop selling it. He also said that they hope to make foie gras illegal in Canada. “It’s currently illegal in fourteen other nations,” he added.
Standing in front of the store, protestors chanted slogans such as, “Force-fed till dead! Boycott IGA now!” and “Foie gras sucks! Save baby ducks!” Some protestors also held pictures of ducks vomiting. Others handed out pamphlets. One protestor was wearing a duck costume.
The protest attracted the attention of many passerbys, some of whom showed support. One pedestrian, on the other hand, deliberately appeared unsympathetic and held up what looked like a canned piece of foie gras in the air.
During the year, a Global Action Network undercover agent infiltrated three of North America’s largest foie gras producers, all in Quebec: Élevages Périgord, Palmex, and Aux Champs d’Elisée. He recorded video footage and kept a diary of the animal abuse caused by employees in those facilities.
“Every time we go undercover we see [employees] violating the law: kicking, punching, and decapitating ducks while they’re fully conscious,” said Solowey.
“With that video footage, we filed criminal charges against all of the individuals seen, and the Quebec police are currently investigating [into the case of] Aux Champs d’Elisée,” he added.
Speaking about whether CARA would be satisfied with just dealing with the charges against the employees, Solowey said, “Since there are lives at stake, any step in the right direction; any improvements in [the well-being of the birds] is a step forward.” Then he went on to add, “But it’s not enough… we’re really pushing for an ultimate ban.”
Some of the countries that have banned foie gras include Switzerland, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany. Some places in the United States, such as Chicago, have also followed.
The campaign against foie gras is CARA’s main project this year, but its members are working on many other campaigns, including ones pertaining to animal testing, fur production, seal hunting, and circus animals.
CARA has had many successes in the past, including pressuring Jacob and Bedo, two clothing companies, to stop selling fur. It also played a role in preventing a bullfight from taking place in the Olympic Stadium, and in banning circuses in the city of Ville St. Laurent.