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 esophagus 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
What force-feeding means for ducks and geese
Through force-feeding, the fat content of the liver increases to over 50 percent. By the end of their lives, the animals can hardly move independently because of their corpulent bodies: their thin legs are often unable to support the weight and snap.
In addition, the brutal procedure of force-feeding through a long pipe leads to grave damage to the oesophagus. This is most clearly seen when the animals are left heavily panting after the feed has been administered.
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
Mechanised 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
Many animals die due to the brutality of the production.
- 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?