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We're also tracking this story. Pamela Anderson is in France. The actress-turned-activist is targeting an iconic French food, foie gras, the fattened livers of geese and ducks. She says it's made using cruel methods. Here's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Pamela Anderson showed up at the French Parliament Tuesday to speak out for animal rights. She said she was following the example of Brigitte Bardot, who inspired her as a young girl by condemning the slaughter by clubbing of baby seals.
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PAMELA ANDERSON: In many national cultures, there seems to be at least one cruel tradition that stands out as identifying that culture, be it the bullfight in Spain, the slaughter of dolphins and whales by Japan or the bloody and obscene massacre of seals in my own native Canada.
BEARDSLEY: In France, said Anderson, it's the making of foie gras. She described how 80 million ducks and geese live out their final weeks in caged anguish as they are force-fed through metal tubes shoved down their throats to fatten their livers. French Congresswoman Laurence Abeille is pushing a bill to ban force-feeding. She says a recent poll shows 70 percent of the French now oppose the practice.
LAURENCE ABEILLE: A lot of young people are vegetarians. A lot of young people want to have a different relationship with the living world, which is not only men and women. It's also animals. And it's a new conception, I think, that is gaining.
BEARDSLEY: Abeille admits it will be an uphill battle, but she wants the debate to start. It did. Foie gras producers and the powerful hunting and fishing lobby lashed out immediately at what they called a phony publicity assault on a wholesome tradition. France produces 22,000 tons of foie gras a year and exports around the world. So far, 20 countries and the state of California have banned the making of foie gras, but it doesn't look as if France will be joining them anytime soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Speaking French).
BEARDSLEY: Around the corner from the Parliament, two friends enjoy a meal at a cozy bistro. The young women say even though they're against what they've heard is a cruel practice, they're not going to give up their foie gras.
GARANCE JOURNOT: (Speaking French).
BEARDSLEY: "It's too much a part of French culinary tradition," says Garance Journot. "And when we eat it, we don't even ask ourselves the question." Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris.
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