Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > New Zealand

'The Cruel Reality of Foie Gras'


The methods used to turn duck and goose livers into the "delicacy" known as pâté de foie gras are anything but delicate. Foie gras is a French term meaning "fatty liver" and its production involves force-feeding birds to produce this cruel animal product.

The ducks and geese force-fed for foie gras are being compelled to consume much more high-energy food—mostly corn—than they would eat voluntarily. This damages their liver and often kills them.

The following points illustrate typical conditions relating to foie gras practices:

Birds are routinely confined to small cages or crowded pens.
Birds are force-fed tremendous amounts of feed via a 12- to 16-inch plastic or metal tube, which is shoved down their throats and attached to a pressurized pump.

The force-feeding may be performed twice daily for up to two weeks for ducks and three to four times daily, for up to 28 days for geese.

Force-feeding causes the liver to increase in size about 6-10 times compared to the normal size for a bird.
Increased liver size forces the abdomen to expand, which makes moving difficult and painful. An enlarged abdomen increases the risk of damage to the stretched tissue of the lower part of the esophagus. Force-feeding results in accumulated scar tissue in the esophagus.

The liver can be easily damaged by even minor trauma.
Ducks and geese are social animals who suffer when confined in individual cages. The confinement also can lead to lesions of the sternum and bone fractures, as well as foot injuries from the cage floors. Ducks and geese also well as foot injuries from the cage floors. Ducks and geese also suffer when they're not allowed enough water to swim and preen, which they do naturally in the wild.

Originally, all foie gras came from France, but now other countries, including New Zealand, have gotten into this cruel niche industry. Next time you go into a store or restaurant or store that sells foie gras, please let them know that a product that comes from force-feeding ducks and geese is more than you can stomach.