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Why Is Amazon Ducking Animal Cruelty Controversy?

06/18/2013 12:20 pm ET | Updated Aug 18, 2013

Video footage secretly recorded by a Mercy For Animals undercover investigator at Hudson Valley Foie Gras -- the country's largest foie gras producer -- has uncovered the systematic torture of animals. Workers were caught on hidden camera violently grabbing ducks by their wings and necks and shoving metal pipes down their throats in order to force-feed them. This painful force-feeding makes the birds' livers swell up to ten times the normal size and the diseased, fatty livers are then sold as "foie gras" on Amazon.com.

Forcing metal pipes down ducks' throats and cramming grossly excessive amounts of food into their stomachs in order to produce diseased, fatty livers is so patently cruel the practice has been banned in California and more than a dozen countries. Recognizing its inherent cruelty, major restaurants and grocers refuse to sell foie gras, including Costco, Safeway, Target, Giant Eagle, Whole Foods Market and Wolfgang Puck.

But at Amazon, unconscionably cruel foie gras is still just a click away.

Why is Amazon ducking this important animal welfare issue?

Ducks are friendly, social animals, who have the same capacity to suffer as the dogs and cats we all know and love. Imagine the public outcry if even one dog had a metal pipe shoved down her throat in order to deliberately induce a state of disease. Indeed, force-feeding one dog or cat the way Amazon foie gras suppliers do thousands of ducks would warrant criminal animal cruelty charges in most states.

After reviewing the shocking undercover video footage, numerous veterinarians and animal welfare experts spoke out against force-feeding ducks to produce foie gras. Dr. Lee Schrader, a practicing veterinarian with more than thirty-five years of experience, wrote: "[T]he process of force feeding birds in order to deliberately induce a disease state is patently inhumane, causing severe physical pain and psychological distress."

Dr. Ward Stone, a senior wildlife pathologist with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, stated: "[T]he short tortured lives of ducks raised for foie gras is well outside the norm of farm practice. Having seen the pathology that occurs from foie gras production, I strongly recommend that this process be outlawed."

Ducks who are confined, cruelly force-fed, and violently slaughtered for foie gras sold on Amazon are treated as mere production machines. Their short lives are filled with misery and deprivation. Even the workers at Hudson Valley Foie Gras admit that the force-feeding process is so abusive that ducks routinely die from it. Some of the ducks simply choke to death, while others succumb to slow and painful suffocation as their unnaturally enlarged livers press against their lungs and make it impossible for them to breathe.

This is blatant animal abuse that no socially responsible company should support.

Mercy For Animals is calling on Amazon to take a stand against cruelty to animals by prohibiting the sale of foie gras. As the world's largest online retailer, Amazon has the power and the ethical responsibility to help stop one of the cruelest factory farming practices by immediately ending the sale of foie gras.

In the past, Amazon has ended the sale of other products, including whale meat, shark fin soup, and dog fighting videos, due to their inhumane nature. It's time for Amazon to implement an ethical and humane policy that bans the sale of foie gras too.

Visit AmazonCruelty.com to learn more and to sign the petition calling on Amazon to stop torturing ducks for foie gras.

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