foie gras factory farm

Foie gras

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 their normal size, inducing a disease call “hepatic lipidosis.” This condition causes birds pain and suffering, and often kills them.

In the last few weeks of their lives, up to four pounds of food per day are pumped into the birds’ stomachs through long metal pipes forced down their throats. Most foie gras production is highly intensified, meaning the birds are kept in tiny individual cages. They stand on metal grates and cannot turn around or flap their wings. 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.

The extra calories (up to five times what conventional meat ducks are fed) result in excess body heat. During the force-feeding phase, birds pant to cool off and some die from the resulting heat stress. Liver failure or rupture is also common.

India, Australia, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, several European nations and California have all banned the production of foie gras because it is cruel. In Canada, several Quebec farms produce foie gras, much of it for export.