The U.S. Supreme Court recently affirmed California’s ban on foie gras, a so-called “luxury” food made from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese who have been fattened through force-feeding.
It’s time for other states to follow California’s lead and ban the inherently cruel practice of force-feeding birds!
TAKE ACTION: Please ask your state legislators to join California in banning foie gras. (If you live in California, please modify your message to say: “Thank you for banning foie gras.”)
Have you ever looked for certified “USDA Organic” foie gras?
You won’t find it because force-feeding an animal for the purpose of enlarging its liver beyond normal size would violate the organic regulations which state: “The producer of an organic livestock operation must establish and maintain year-round livestock living conditions which accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals.”
Likewise, searches for “certified humane” foie gras will produce nothing. There is no animal welfare standard that allows force-feeding.
Nevertheless, the myth of “humane” and “ethical” foie gras persists.
Yes, it’s possible for a duck or goose to enlarge its own liver by gorging itself, and there are hunters who say they have caught “wild foie gras.”
There’s also a farm in Spain that claims to attract 2,000 migratory geese who voluntarily stay at the farm while fattening themselves on the acorns, olives, figs, wild herbs, fruits and seeds that grow over the farm’s 1,200 acres.
But the miniscule amount of foie gras that comes from migratory geese isn’t the problem.
The problem is that there are U.S. farms and food brands, including Hudson Valley Foie Gras and D’Artagnan, marketing foie gras from factory farms (the Environmental Protection Agency calls them concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs) where domesticated ducks spend their entire lives indoors. Using terms like “hand-fed” (a lie intended to hide the fact that workers use their hands to insert rigid metal feeding tubes called gavages down the duck’s throats) and “cage-free” (they may not be in individual cages, but 30 ducks are crowded into each small barren indoor pen), these charlatans have convinced consumers that there is something special about the way they force-feed their ducks.
Hudson Valley Foie Gras’ marketing videos, and video investigations from the animal welfare organizations Mercy for Animals and Compassion Over Killing, show the same process.
But there are two big differences between these videos.
First, Hudson Valley Foie Gras’ videos don’t show injured birds, while the Mercy for Animals videos include bloody and dead birds, and workers talking about the large numbers of birds who die during force-feeding. Even the Compassion Over Killing video, which was filmed during a company-led tour, showed bleeding and injured birds waiting to be slaughtered.
The second difference is in the narration and interpretation of the same scene. Hudson Valley Foie Gras claims that the birds aren’t afraid of, and don’t resist the gavage, while the Mercy for Animals and Compassion Over Killing narration points out ducks in their videos who crowd into the corner of the cage, flap their wings (the breed’s genetics prevent them from flying) and have to be grabbed by the wing or neck to bring them to the gavage. After being force-fed, the birds breathe heavily indicating that their lungs were compressed by the tube during the feeding process.
Between 2.5 percent to 4.2 percent of Hudson Valley Foie Gras ducks die before being slaughtered.
This inherently cruel practice of force-feeding birds should be outlawed in all 50 states! Please ask your state legislators to join California in banning foie gras!