THE BLOG

An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos

05/22/2014 06:05 pm ET | Updated Jul 22, 2014
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Dear Mr. Bezos,

As the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, the world's largest online retailer, you hold incredible power. I'm writing today to urge you to use this power for good: to protect animals from cruelty by immediately banning the sale of foie gras on Amazon.com.

Amazon has proven time and again to be a true leader. You've shown a spirit of ingenuity, forward thinking and creativity that has moved our society forward in so many ways.

It's disappointing to see such an otherwise progressive company continue to support a practice that's like something out of the dark ages -- the brutal, cruel force-feeding of ducks to create foie gras.

Foie gras, French for "fatty liver," is quite literally the diseased liver of a duck. It is made by violently shoving a pipe down a duck's throat and cramming food into his stomach in order to induce the diseased liver that is then sold as a delicacy.

The practice is so cruel it is banned in California and in more than a dozen countries, including Austria, Argentina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

A 2013 investigation by Mercy For Animals at Hudson Valley Foie Gras, an Amazon foie gras supplier, documented a system of intentional torture of animals, including:

  • Workers violently grabbing ducks by their wings and necks and then shoving a metal pipe down their throats to force-feed them
  • Countless ducks hyperventilating as their unnaturally large livers pressed against their lungs, making it difficult to breathe
  • Birds with open, bleeding wounds left to suffer in tiny wire cages without proper veterinary care
  • Fully conscious ducks being shackled upside down and having their throats cut open

In the past, your company has stood up against animal cruelty by ending the sale of other products due to their inhumane production practices. Amazon has banned the sale of a long list of animal products, including shark fins, whale meat, bear bile, ivory, snake and crocodile skin, seal fur and any product or body part from a dog or a cat. It is admirable that your company recognizes its power to prevent needless animal suffering.

Amazon UK recently banned the sale of foie gras on its site. So we ask you, Mr. Bezos, what is the difference between a duck in the UK and a duck in the U.S.? Are they not equal in their capacity to feel pain? Should geography dictate whether or not a duck is tortured? We don't think so.

Amazon has the power to lead important social change. And with power comes responsibility. These animals cannot speak for themselves, so it is up to people like you to speak for them. Won't you do that?

Other retailers have already taken a stand for these intelligent and friendly animals. Recognizing the cruelty inherent in foie gras production, major restaurants and grocers, including Costco, Safeway, Target, Giant Eagle, Whole Foods Market, and Wolfgang Puck, refuse to sell it.

Won't you please join them?

Help stop one of the cruelest factory farming practices in existence by immediately ending the sale of foie gras on your site. Add this to the list of great things Amazon already does.

Continue to be an industry leader, Mr. Bezos, by leading the way to the end of this barbaric practice.

Sincerely,

Nathan Runkle
Executive Director
Mercy For Animals

Mercy For Animals is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.