Foie gras, which is French for “fatty liver”, is an inhumane “delicacy” produced by grossly enlarging the livers of male ducks and geese through force-feeding.
Among factory farming practices, it is the only one in which animals are purposefully raised to become deformed and diseased. Force feeding high-energy food such as corn causes the birds’ livers to swell up to ten times the normal size, inducing a disease call “hepatic lipidosis.” This condition causes birds pain and suffering, and often kills them.
Up to four pounds of food per day are pumped into the birds’ stomachs through long metal pipes forced down their throats, often causing severe injuries or death. Most foie gras production is highly intensified, meaning the birds are kept in individual tiny cages. Only the neck protrudes, allowing the feeder to grab the bird’s head to force the beak open for feeding. Some birds experience torn necks and ruptured internal organs from the feeding tubes.
A number of European nations and Israel have banned the production of foie gras because it is cruel. In Canada, several Quebec farms produce foie gras, much of it for export.
For more details on foie gras, download our fact sheet (pdf file).