Ever heard of foie gras? French for “fatty liver,” foie gras is a food made from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese who have been force-fed. This is what the process looks like:
1. Birds raised for foie gras spend the first four weeks of their lives eating and growing, sometimes in semi-darkness.
2. For the next four weeks, they’re confined to cramped cages and fed a high-protein, high-starch diet that’s designed to promote rapid growth.
3. Unable to bathe or groom themselves, they become coated with excrement mixed with the oils that would normally protect their feathers from water.
4. Force-feeding begins when the birds are between 8 and 10 weeks old.
5. For 12 to 21 days, ducks and geese are subjected to gavage—every day, between 2 and 4 pounds of grain and fat are forced down their throats through a feeding tube.
6. The Washington Post reported that the tube “is pushed five inches down their throats and more food than they want is gunned into their stomachs. If the mushy corn sticks … a stick is sometimes used to force it down.”
7. The birds’ livers, which become engorged from a carbohydrate-rich diet, can swell to up to 10 times their normal size.
8. On foie gras factory farms, birds often suffer from damage to the esophagus, fungal infections, diarrhea, impaired liver function, heat stress, lesions, and fractures of the sternum.
9. Some ducks die of aspiration pneumonia, which can result when grain is forced into their lungs or when they choke on their own vomit.
10. Since foie gras is made from the livers of only male ducks, female ducklings are useless to the industry and are, therefore, often tossed into grinders, live, so that their bodies can be processed into fertilizer or cat food.
Can you imagine how these birds must feel?
Please, NEVER eat foie gras. You can take an even bigger step by ditching ALL animal-derived foods. No animal is ours to exploit or kill for food. Check out peta2’s Guide to Going Vegan for some help!