What is Foie Gras?
July 26, 2019
“Foie gras” translates to “fatty liver” in English. It’s known as an expensive, “luxury” food that’s actually made from a duck or goose liver that has become abnormally enlarged from a disease called hepatic steatosis, which is caused by the animal being force fed large amounts of food. The liver is sold whole or ground up into a pâté or as another side dish.
WHY IS FOIE GRAS SO CRUEL?: Not only is the act of eating a diseased organ extremely disgusting, it’s also supporting nightmarish cruelty. Here are some of the things birds used for foie gras are forced to endure:
- Birds in the foie gras industry are confined in cramped pens or cages that are sometimes so small that the birds can’t even turn around. They’re denied everything that they need to be happy.
- Once the birds reach about 8 to 10 weeks old, the torture of force feeding begins and lasts around four weeks. Workers shove metal tubes down the birds’ throats and pump their stomachs full of far more food than they would ever want to eat. This process, also known as “gavage”, is repeated multiple times a day. The force feeding causes the birds’ livers to swell up to ten times their natural size.
- Force feeding can also cause organ failure, injuries to the birds’ beaks and throats, and pneumonia. The wire cages can cause foot and leg injuries, and the intense confinement is mental torture for these normally curious and sensitive animals. At the end of this phase, the birds are slaughtered.
DID YOU KNOW?: Foie gras production is so cruel that it’s been banned in several countries and in the state of California. Even in places where it’s legal, many retailers refuse to sell foie gras. Also, after Animal Equality’s successful 2-year campaign, India now prohibits foie gras imports, which means that it’s illegal to sell or buy it anywhere in the country.
WHAT WE’RE DOING: Though more and more people are learning the truth about how foie gras hurts animals, there’s still more work to be done! We continue to push to make foie gras imports illegal in Britain, and we’re part of a strong coalition of animal protection organizations working to outlaw it in New York City, where the United States’ largest foie gras producer is located.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: The best way you can help ducks and geese suffering for this cruel “delicacy” is by refusing to eat it and by sharing this information with family and friends so they’ll avoid foie gras, too. You can also help us make Britain foie gras-free by signing our petition to ban imports into the UK.
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