In the past few days, significant legislative victories have been won on behalf of animals at both the state and federal level.

On Wednesday (9/29), California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 1520, legislation to ban the cruel force feeding of ducks and geese to produce pate de foie gras-- the fatty, pathologically-enlarged liver of force-fed ducks or geese. The passage of SB 1520 is a landmark, since it marks the first time in the U.S. that a legislature has completely banned an egregious farming practice based on its cruelty.

The law will take effect in 71/2 years, in 2012.It is hoped that SB 1520's passage signals a greater willingness of lawmakers to examine abusive agricultural practices and to establish some basic standards for raising animals in food production.

With the signing of SB 1520 into law, California joins at least 13 countries throughout Europe that prohibit foie gras production. Additionally, the California legislation goes one step beyond other existing foie gras bans by prohibiting the sale of foie gras in the entire state. In doing so, SB 1520 does more than just affect animals within California; it affects foie gras production overall and resonates throughout the foie gras industry.

Also on Wednesday, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 1857, legislation that prohibits the declawing of big cats kept in captivity. AB 1857 will discourage misguided people from seeking to keep these animals as "pets."

Congratulations to everyone who wrote and called in to California legislators and Governor Schwarzenegger to promote this groundbreaking legislation. Tremendous public interest in and support for this bill has most certainly been the decisive factor in its ultimate passage.

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