My Trip to France and Foie GrasPosted in Animal Welfare / Food on January 2, 2014
I have just returned from an amazing winter holiday in France. I found the atmosphere magic there around Christmas, with the city lights dazzling everywhere, the Christmas markets on Champ de Elysees, the snowy village and slopes of Megeve!
The delicious ( and mostly unhealthy!) temptations of France are part of the experience; the breads, the wines and for many, the cheeses. However there is one French “delicacy” that I believe should be boycotted with deliberation. Just because you are on a holiday, why would you want to partake in an extremely cruel industry that many countries around the world have banned because of the immense animal suffering involved.
Foie Gras. Fatty liver from ducks or geese. Also known as hepatic steatosis, a disease liver.
At approximately 8 weeks old ducks or geese, are kept in small cages in mostly dark conditions. They are force fed up to 2 kilos daily of high protein and high carbohydrate food through a metal tube that is shoved down their throat. This continues for approximately 3 weeks until their livers have swelled to 10x the normal healthy size. During this torturous time, the birds often experience terrible damage to their esophagi, they collapse on the floor due to being unable to support their abnormal body weight and find it hard to breath due to the lack of internal space for their lungs. They become dirty and ragged due to the living conditions and stress and disease they occur from the force feeding.
They are then killed, often just before they would die from this torture.
This happens to over 25 million ducks and 1 million geese in France a year, which accounts for 90 percent of all production of Foie Gras.
But the rest of the world are not blind to this blatant and unnecessary suffering. Many countries have banned production of Foie Gras including Australia, UK, Israel, Argentina, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Turkey and the state of California in the US. Some of these places are taking it a step further and completely banning the sale of it. Many individual companies and supermarkets have banned the sale of it, due their own ethical stand against the practise, for example in the UK, Wimbledon, both houses of the parliament, BAFTAs, Selfridges to name just a few. Even the Pope spoke out against it.
If you are light-hearted check out this two-minute video narrated by Kate Winslet to get a quick overview.
For a slightly more visual understanding, spend 5 minutes of your time watching Sir Roger Moores video.
Personally, I think of how uncomfortable I feel if I have over indulged in a meal and then try and empathise the complete agony these animals must feel being stuffed full of unwanted food until their bodies can no longer cope.
There are so many wonderful cultural and gastronomical enjoyments in France. Why would you feel the desire to consume a diseased organ?