Au Revoir to Foie Gras
Posted on 17 Jun 2012
By: Marilyn Ramos
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. Mahatma Ghandi
On July 1st, the sale and production of foie gras will be illegal in California. Senate Bill 1520 was passed in 2004 and made California the first state to enact such a ban. Author, John Burton, stated that “we just shouldn’t be cramming a tube down a duck’s throat and forcing in food to make foie gras,” and that foie gras production is “an inhumane process that other countries have sensibly banned. I’m pleased California will be next on the list.” It should be noted that a dozen or so countries also ban foie gras. These include Switzerland, Israel, Denmark and the United Kingdom.
As the deadline looms, numerous articles are being written about the ban. Some articles have waxed poetic about foie gras parties and bashed the “animal rights crazies”. I wish one day someone would explain to me what is so crazy about caring for animals, their welfare and their humane treatment.
I, for one, find it disheartening that so many do not see the inherent cruelty of foie gras. Maybe that is because so many people are either ignorant or purposely choose to be left in the dark about how their food is made (especially when the cruelty is blatant). Out of sight, out of mind I suppose.
As you probably know, foie gras is French for fatty liver. The livers of ducks and geese are fattened up by force feeding them several times a day for 12 to 18 days via a steel tube (gavage) so that their livers expand to an abnormally large size. You can find videos online showing the production of foie gras. It is not a pretty sight. Not only are the ducks and geese roughly handled, but they suffer pain, injuries, organ damage and infection from the harsh process. Some can’t walk from the extra weight and some even die from exploding stomachs. Even the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) does not support the practice.
I need to point out that the process of producing foie gras is cruel and inhumane but it is only half the story. The treatment of the animals immediately prior to and during slaughter is also cringe-worthy (as it is for most meat production). Ducks are shocked with electrified water and then have their throats slit to allow the blood to drain. Marcus Henley, the operations manager of Hudson Valley Foie Gras states:
“The heart has to continue beating so when the throat is cut, blood pumps out for a time. This is standard in all animal slaughter, although some religious customs preclude stunning. We are not comfortable with that. The bird has to be alive at the point where the throat is cut so the blood pumps out.”
Advocates of foie gras claim the animals don’t suffer. I’m sorry but that is like a rapist saying his victim liked it or must’ve enjoyed it if she didn’t fight back. Unfortunately, some people will reject all evidence put before them that shows foie gras production is cruel, because they simply want to eat it without feeling guilty about it.
So as many restaurants will be hosting Au Revoir to Foie Gras parties over the next two weeks, I’ll be saying Au Revoir to ducks gasping for air, geese choking on blood, ducks suffering from liver malfunction, geese having tubes crammed down their throats, ducks unable to hold up their heads because of so much damage to their necks. I’ll be saying GOODBYE to the inhumane treatment of ducks and geese in California. I hope that the old saying, “As goes California, so goes the nation” will become a reality when it comes to foie gras in this country.
for News and Updates!
for News and Updates!