Village Voice Foie Gras Article
Category : Uncategorized
I just (finally) read the pro-foie gras article published in the Village Voice. It’s about the author’s visit to Hudson Valley Foie Gras farm, and includes an extensive slideshow of photos of the farm.
I find it interesting that looking at these photos, and the conditions these ducks are raised and force-fed in, makes me even more convinced that foie gras is a pretty bad thing. I wonder if this is just that I’m ready to be convinced of my own point of view? Which makes me think that the pro-foie gras side would be pretty much the same, convinced by whatever they see that foie gras is ok.
But what about the unconvinced? What will they think about these photos and the article? I’m curious to see.
An important point about this article is that it’s about Hudson Valley, which is somewhat different than the farms that produce foie gras here in Canada. They keep their ducks in small group pens for the force-feeding period, which lasts 21 days. Here in Canada the farms confine the ducks in individual cages for the force-feeding period, which lasts 14 days. This individual confinement seems to be the standard here and in France and Belgium. (See the EU report…)
Hudson Valley keeps the ducks in huge barns on wood shavings for the first portion of their lives. At no point do the ducks have access to water to swim in. This for me is really enough to have huge problems with any form of duck farming. Ducks have evolved as waterfowl. Taking a duck away from the water seems like it would be like making a chicken live their whole life IN the water. It’s just not natural.
The use of wire-bottomed cages to confine the ducks (in groups) is another point against this type of farming. Wire-bottomed cages are a convenience for the farmer, as they cut down on time required for cleaning of bedding. For 21 days these ducks are kept without bedding resting only on wire. These are animals evolved to swim and fly, not to sit in one place for three weeks on a wire mesh. That they are sitting completely still is sad, as ducks in the wild spend their days wandering about, searching for food and socializing.
You can see when the ducks are slaughtered that their undersides are filthy and discoloured. This is likely because they cannot reach their undersides to clean themselves due to their obesity.
Frankly, since foie gras is not something that we need to eat, not by any stretch of the imagination, how can we justify doing any of this to ducks? Taste alone can’t justify this.
Also, here in BC, the BC Organic standards and the SPCA Certification prohibit the use of confinement systems. Why? Because according to these standards, their living spaces should allow for as close to a natural lifestyle as possible. Confining and force-feeding is diametrically in opposition to this. It’s completely shocking that restaurants that take pride in supporting local and humane farms also support farms that utilize intensive farming practices like these foie gras farms.