|Foie gras is a cruel dish better left unserved
The Georgia Straight
(Vancouver) January 14, 2009
gras is a cruel dish better left unserved
To some, foie gras represents the ultimate in luxury food.
reality, it is one of the most extreme forms of cruelty still
permitted today, and yet it appears on the menus of many of
Foie gras is the liver of ducks who have been
force-fed with a
mechanical pump almost to the point of death. The purpose
process is to swell the liver up to 10 times its normal size, so
it becomes fatty and extremely rich.
Canadian foie gras comes
from Quebec, where 500,000 ducks are killed
annually for foie gras. The
majority comes from three producers, each
of which slaughters in excess of
2,000 ducks each week. In these
factory farms, ducks are raised in large,
enclosed sheds. Some farms
have small, crowded pens in which a few ducks are
restrain each duck in an individual cage.
Two to three
times each day, a farm worker goes down the line, grabs
each bird, and
forces a metal pipe down his throat. A machine pumps a
directly into the duck's stomach in only a few
seconds. Each duck is
force-fed up to one-third of his body weight in
food each day. After two
weeks, they are slaughtered.
The process of force-feeding enlarges the
liver so dramatically that
other organs are pushed to the side, making
breathing difficult. The
ducks must struggle to stand and can barely walk;
they have been
observed attempting to push themselves forward with their
their legs can no longer support their swollen bodies. During the
force-feeding process, bills are cracked, tongues are torn, and necks
are punctured by the metal feeding tubes.
The Global Action Network's
undercover investigations at Quebec's
foie gras farms have shown ducks
vomiting bright-red, bloodstained
food from their damaged throats.
Necropsied foie gras birds
frequently reveal signs of trauma-scarring,
bacterial and fungal infections. Not surprisingly, the B.C.
opposes foie gras, describing force-feeding as an "intrusive,
stressful and painful experience".
Why would anybody defend this
wholly unnecessary "delicacy"?
Sixteen countries have outlawed the
practice of force-feeding.
Israel, once the world's fourth-largest producer,
banned it in 2005
because of animal welfare concerns. California has passed
a law that
will ban the production and sale of foie gras by
Chicago passed a nearly unanimous ban on the sale of foie gras
was repealed two years later through some sneaky political
maneuvering. How would such a ban fare in Vancouver? Are our
willing to take a stand and stick to it like California,
or would they wimp
out like Chicago? The NPA-heavy council voted to
ban rodeos in Vancouver. Is
the current Vision Vancouver-led council
going to be more or less
progressive on animal welfare issues?
At Liberation B.C., we are hopeful
that positive change will come
about in Vancouver under Mayor Gregor
Robertson's leadership. We have
been engaging the public and collecting
petition signatures in favour
of a ban on the sale of foie gras, and the
support we've received has