Foie Gras is a cruel and unethical industry
In this article, we explore how the industry ignores the welfare needs of the animals and why the foie gras industry is cruel and unethical.
Over the past few decades, the production of foie gras has resulted in several controversies. This luxurious French dish is prepared from the fattened liver of a duck or goose. Sound innocuous? Well, this fattening is achieved by force-feeding. Combined with the inhumane conditions these birds live in, foie gras epitomizes animal cruelty.
History of Foie Gras
Before migration in the wild, waterfowls like geese and ducks overeat to enable them to store up enough fat for the long journey ahead. This overeating causes an increase of fat in their liver, which changes the taste.
Once farmers learned about that, they started exploring ways to force-feed these birds to produce those sumptuous livers. Unfortunately, the answer was despicable.
Production Process of Foie Gras
To obtain this fattened liver, farmers force-feed these birds using a pipe. A long tube is inserted into the esophagus of the bird, and then, large amounts of a fatty corn-based mixture are poured in through a funnel. This process is known as ‘gavage’, and it increases the liver to about ten times its original size. This liver gain is achieved only 21 days after force-feeding commences, after which the duck is slaughtered.
Why is Foie Gras Production Cruel and Unethical?
According to the Certified Humane standards, the ethical treatment of animals must entail the following:
1) All species must have access to a diet that promotes a positive state of well-being.
2) The environment must be designed to meet the welfare needs of each species and allow them to perform natural behavior.
3) Animals must be protected from pain, injury, and disease throughout their entire lives.
But guess what? The production of foie gras violates these three tenets. Here are some crucial points to examine:
The Feeding Regimen is Inhumane
While some foie gras farmers argue that force-feeding doesn’t harm the birds, the prevailing evidence says otherwise. Force-feeding birds to the point of engorgement traumatizes the bird, just as it is unhealthy for them. To give you a bit of perspective, these birds are force-fed about 2 kilograms of food every day. That’s the equivalent of a human eating 20 kilograms of pasta daily. Utterly insane!
The Birds Live in Despicable Conditions
If you’ve been to a foie gras farm, the ducks living conditions are terrible to see. Their cages are so small that they cannot turn around, let alone flap their wings. These birds also have to live in their excrement.
They are unable to explore their surroundings as they would in the wild. Being unable to socialize, swim, and fly due to this behavioral restriction further stresses these birds.
They Suffer Injury and stress
In a typical foie gras farm, each worker might have to force-feed about 500 birds twice a day. In the quest to work promptly, animal welfare is the last thing on the minds of these workers. The chaotic nature of force-feeding these birds invariably results in injury and stress. That’s why foie gras birds are susceptible to aspiration pneumonia, bruised beaks, broken bones, and chronic stress.
They Have a Higher Mortality Rate
Do you need hard proof? Mortality rate investigations conducted in France, Spain, and Belgium showed that 2 to 5% of foie gras birds died during the force-feeding period. Contrast that to a mortality rate of 0.2% in conventional duck farms. That’s a whopping 10 to 25 times higher!
While foie gras is a delicacy to some, it comes at a great price – cruel treatment of ducks and geese. This is why several countries – including Germany, U.K., Sweden, Poland, Israel, and Switzerland – banned foie gras production. Unfortunately, foie gras production continues in many other places, including parts of the United States.
Animals deserve to be treated right. Foie gras production continues to undermine that.
Jessica Loticus is a Bio grad student, animal rights activist, and environmentalist. An aspiring journalist she focuses on how animal life is endangered due to human activity. A goal with her capstone project is putting an end to foie gras by making the entire world aware of the inhumane treatment of these birds and associated unethical food production. Jessica believes to make a difference in this industry, consumers must be educated. If they were aware of how foie gras is made then a lot more would be unwilling to consume it and pay for it. Consumers ultimately have the power to decide which industries exist and which do not. And this is an industry that should not exist.
Jessica has a website about foie gras – “If we can just get enough consumers to change their habits, reinforced by laws banning this practice, then the cruel treatment of these birds would stop.”
Learn more by visiting foiegrasfacts.com