The Ugly Duckling speaks out about
the making of foie gras
Not many people are aware of what is done to us ducks and geese to create what is called "foie gras"; the oversized livers of ducks and geese grotesquely enlarged by cruel force-feeding (foie meaning liver and gras meaning fat - basically a fat liver). People then turn around and make a pate' out of our livers that is taught to be a delicacy among your kind. I unfortunately experienced first hand what is done to ducks like myself and found what I expected.
Three times a day, humans entered the small duck pens where we were imprisoned inside the factory-farm building. Us ducks, knowing what was coming, struggled to get as far away from the men as possible. The humans grabbed us one at a time, held us down, forced open our bills, and shoved a long metal pipe down our throats all the way to our stomachs and believe me, it ain't no party! They then squeezed a lever attached to the pipe, and an air-driven pump forced a third of the day's six-to-seven pounds of corn mixture into each our stomachs. Each human was expected to force-feed 500 of us birds three times a day. So many of my duck friends died when their stomachs bursted from overfeeding. I and two other ducks found a way to escape this nightmare, but the others were not so lucky.
After four weeks of force-feeding, the rest of the ducks were slaughtered, their livers six to twelve times normal size --pale, blotchy melon-sized messes instead of small, firm, healthy organs. While us surviving ducks went through this torture we all incurred tumor-like lumps, caused by force-feeding, in our throats. One of the other two ducks had a maggot-covered neck wound so severe that water spilled out of it when he drank. Humans routinely carried us by our necks, causing us to choke and shit in distress. Our only defense was to attempt to make loud noises and to make disgusting messes all over the humans.
Only us male ducks and male geese are killed for our sickened livers. According to the humans, we produce larger livers and are considered better able to withstand the four weeks of torture. Female baby ducks are treated as trash--literally. We observed humans stuffing a nylon feed sack with female ducklings, tying the bag at the top, and dropping it into a trash can filled with scalding water and the humans killed the surviving ones by smashing their heads against the trash can.
A PETA friend of ours has caught some of these atrocities on video. Veterinarians who viewed PETA's video and this footage helped shut down one of these concentration camps for ducks. Not that I couldn't have told you, but the veterinarians said such force-feeding would damage the pharynx and esophagus so severely that us ducks would not be able to eat on our own after a short period; there is a high chance of infection from using the same pipe on so many ducks without cleanings; and food is likely to enter the lungs, causing pneumonia.
The following is from PETA's report;
One veterinarian who accompanied police on their raid of Commonwealth Enterprises said, "All of the ducks [in the force-feeding area] exhibited signs of illness. Many of those ducks were unable to walk or stand. [Some] exhibited ... bill deformities.
Another stated, "[Force-feeding] can injure the mouth and esophagus. ... The birds appear to be ill; their eyes are dull and their feathers unkempt." A third veterinarian who accompanied police noted that "none [of the ducks] was attempting to preen. Only severely stressed or ill ducks allow their plumage to deteriorate to the degree seen in this videotape."
A New York state wildlife pathologist who examined ducks from Commonwealth said, "If this kind of thing was happening to dogs, it would be stopped immediately. He expressed horror at their "greatly enlarged livers, the product of overfeeding by force (livers are easily torn by even minor trauma)," and at one duck's "laceration of the liver with hemorrhage into the body cavity. This type of treatment and farming of waterfowl is outside the acceptable norms of agriculture and sane treatment of animals."
Many New York veterinarians signed a statement that foie gras production should be outlawed because foie gras is nothing but the serious liver disease hepatic lipidosis: "Animals in this condition would feel extremely ill .... Foie gras production, by definition, constitutes clear-cut animal cruelty."
Nobel Prize-winning goose expert Konrad Lorenz was asked to read to the European Parliament a report promoting the foie gras industry. Lorenz refused, saying he felt "hot with anger" as he read the report. "My viewpoint towards the 'expert opinion' which further permits forcible fattening of ducks and geese ... can be expressed briefly: The 'expert opinion' is a shame for the whole of Europe."
Foie gras and de fois gras can make people fat and sick like the unfortunate birds tortured to produce it. Foie gras gets 85 percent of its calories from fat--more than twice as much as a hamburger! Cardiologist David T. Nash has pointed out, "This fat is mostly palmitic acid, a saturated fat known to increase cholesterol."
As you can see, humans, geese, as well as us ducks would all be much better off if people would give up this cruel and disgusting habit of eating our diseased livers. Please do not shop or eat where people serve foie gras.