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Undercover Investigation into Foie Gras Farms in Europe

Animal Equality presents a shocking new undercover investigation into the foie gras industry in the EU.
July 23, 2012

Animal Equality investigators visited 4 ‘traditional’ farms located in the south-west of France and 5 farms in Catalunya, Spain.

One of the farms investigated supplies the company Collverd, which is owned by the President of the Spanish foie gras industry (Interpalm).

In Europe, foie gras is produced in only five countries: France, Bulgaria, Spain, Hungary, and Belgium. These countries have formed the European Foie Gras Federation since 2008.

Ducks and geese exploited to produce foie gras are subjected to the agony of routine force-feeding so that farmers can obtain from them diseased, fatty livers (hepatic lipidosis).

Dozens of hours of video and audio, and more than 500 photographs obtained by Animal Equality document the shocking reality of life for ducks and geese confined and force-fed for foie gras production in France and Spain.

  • Animals confined to small cages in which the animals could not even turn around.
  • Animals with clear signs of stress and depression.
  • Evidence of trauma and inflammation of the esophagus – recognized by blood stains on force-feeding tubes.
  • Animals with obvious respiratory problems.
  • Ducks, who appeared fully aware of their situation at the time of slaughter. These animals were flapping, kicking, and bleeding incessantly.
  • Workers roughly handling animals.
  • Ducks moving with difficulty due to the size of their livers.

France is the largest producer and exporter of foie gras. Over 20,000 tons are produced and approximately 700,000 geese and 37 million ducks are slaughtered by the French foie gras industry each year.

Over 4,200 tons are consumed in Spain, and 850 tons are produced. Over 1,150,000 ducks are slaughtered by the Spanish foie gras industry each year.

Appallingly, whilst foie gras production was banned in the United Kingdom during 2000, it is still legal to import foie gras products into the country and sell them here. The UK has imported a total of 6,388,543 kg between 2007 and 2011, and also exported 2,547 kg during 2011.

Building on the results of this research by Animal Equality, we ask for the immediate closure of French and Spanish farms, and the prohibition of the production, supply and sale of foie gras across Europe.

We believe that the production of foie gras should be abolished, as it already has been in Argentina, Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, Israel, Turkey, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, the UK and most recently in the U.S. state of California.

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