The pricey delicacy foie gras is based on incredible cruelty to animals. Through force-feeding, ducks and geese are intentionally tortured and made successively ill in order to produce this "luxury product".
A metal pipe is rammed into the oesophagus three times a day. A mixture of maize and pure fat is administered through this pipe, intended to cause rapid weight gain and the abnormal growth of the liver. The liver is unable to process these large amounts of fat and swells up to 10 times its normal size.
Facts about force-feeding
The brutal manner of force-feeding through metal tubes leads to serious injury of the esophagus, often causing wounds and puncture holes. This is particularly evident when the animals are left panting after the administration of their feed mixture.
The symptoms suffered by the geese or ducks include thermal (heat) stress, shortness of breath, and the formation of a pathogenic fatty liver. By the end of their lives, the fat content of the liver is more than 50%. Due to their enormous body mass, most geese and ducks can barely walk and spend most of their time sitting.
three weeks of torture
Ducks are generally force-fed for up to 15 days,
geese for up to 21 days.
feeding lasts three seconds
Mechanized systems can force-feed up to 400 animals per hour, making them successively ill.
the amount of food
increases each time
The increasing quantity of food makes the liver grow to 10 times its normal size.
the mortality rate is two to four percent
In conventional farming without force-feeding it is around 0.2 percent.
What force-feeding means for ducks and geese
Geese and ducks are birds that are used to living by the water. Their natural instincts are to explore their surroundings, swim around and clean themselves, but none of this is possible in dark stables.
Their space to move is limited; even if they had enough room to walk around, they hardly could due to their enormous weight increase. In many cases the conditions are even worse: after being force-fed, the animals are stuck into small cages so that they cannot exercise and their weight will keep increasing.
As a result of this practice animals suffer from severe health problems and pain and some of them even die during the process of force-feeding or transport to slaughter. It’s hardly surprising that 10 to 20 times more animals die in the force-feeding industry than in conventional farming.
- Take care when purchasing duck and goose meat from France, Spain, Bulgaria and Hungary, since these countries export foie gras.
- Look out for ducks and geese without giblets! If the liver is missing, it is hard to prove that the animal was not force-fed.
- Caution when buying goose liver pates, terrines and similar products made from duck liver. Even products originating in countries where force-feeding is prohibited can contain foie gras or meat from force-fed poultry.
- Look twice when shopping at your farmers' market! Even fresh, unwrapped poultry may have been force-fed. Ask for details of the origin and if in doubt, do not purchase the meat.
- Think about the fact that conventional duck and goose farming also disregards animal welfare. How about vegetarian or vegan alternatives, or at least organic meat?