Australia does not produce foie gras. However, the diseased, fattened liver of force-fed ducks and geese remains a delicacy that is imported into the country.
Birds are force fed until their livers swell up to 10 times their natural size, using pipes shoved down the birds’ throats. It’s important that consumers who eat foie gras know how this cruellest of foods is produced.
France is the world’s largest producer of foie gras, with the name meaning ‘fat liver’ in French. Its production is banned in Israel, many European countries and the state of California in the US, due to the extreme cruelty of the practice. The European Union is due to phase out foie gras production entirely by 2020.
To produce foie gras, ducks and geese are force fed three times per day by having a pipe shoved down their throat and grain and fat fed directly into their stomachs. This causes their livers to swell to up to 10 times their normal size. The pipes are known to cause bruising and tears to the birds’ necks and insides. Many birds struggle to stand because of their swollen livers, and often tear out their own feathers or cannibalise each other out of stress.
Because workers are expected to force feed up to 500 birds per day, the birds are often handled roughly. So many birds die before slaughter from burst livers, that in one factory investigated by PETA, workers were given a bonus if they killed less than 50 birds each month.
Injury and illness
Other injuries caused by the tubes and forced feeding include foot infections, damaged kidneys and spleens, broken bills and lumps in the throat. Workers handle the birds by their throats, often resulting in birds choking to death.
The birds also suffer the same cruel treatment as other factory-farmed animals, including overcrowding, mutilation without pain relief, the inability to perform natural behaviours and having no access to water that the birds naturally feed and bathe in.
Early death and wastage
Male ducks and geese are used to produce fois gras, because they have larger livers and are believed to be better able to withstand the cruelty. This means that female chicks, like male chicks in the egg industry, are killed directly after birth.
Australia must ban the importation and sale of foie gras, as well as ensuring the horrendous practice is never allowed to happen in this country.
- Do not eat foie gras, and encourage your family and friends to do the same
- Become a member of Animal Liberation and help fund the fight against foie gras cruelty
- Ask local restaurants and grocers to stop selling foie gras. Explain the torture that birds are put through to obtain this so-called ‘delicacy’.
- Write to the Minister for Agriculture and ask him to introduce legislation calling for foie gras importation and sale to be banned.