Walk for Farm Animals: Canadian Foie Gras Investigation
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Since Liberation BC’s 6th annual Walk for Farm Animals to benefit Farm Sanctuary is coming up on September 29th, it’s time to get to know just a few of the some of the approximately 900 animals who live at Farm Sanctuary’s three shelters. (It’s also time to register and get started fundraising!)
This is part of a series of farm animal stories on our blog.
The entire Canadian foie gras industry is located in Quebec, which is where Farm Sanctuary decided to focus their undercover investigations. Every year in Quebec, 500,000 ducks are killed for foie gras; that is, if they even make it to the slaughterhouse. The process of force-feeding these birds is so violent and brutal that many of them die as a result, choking on their own vomit, suffering ruptured esophagi and anal hemmorhaging, and more. In fact, pre-slaughter mortality rates are even higher than on most factory farms. At one foie gras producer, workers were even issued a bonus if they managed to kill fewer than 50 of their 500 assigned ducks before the birds were to be sent to slaughter. Additionally, many ducks raised for foie gras go blind; as waterfowl, they require access to water to clean themselves properly, but foie gras farms provide none. Learn more about foie gras.
Below is a video of Farm Sanctuary’s undercover investigations at Palmex, Inc, Elevages Perigord, and Aux Champs d’Elisee, the three largest foie gras producers in Canada:
Fortunately, at least three lucky ducks escaped: Kohl, Harper, and Burton were rescued from foie gras farms and now live safely at Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter. Unfortunately, all three will forever bear the scars of the severe abuse they suffered:
- Kohl came to Farm Sanctuary after weeks of intensive force-feeding unable to walk or stand, and incapable of even eating without caregiver assistance. He also suffered from severe respiratory distress because his abnormally enlarged liver was putting pressure on his other organs, which in turned pressed on his lungs, making it difficult for him to breathe…his legs will always remain deformed because of the numerous untreated leg bone breaks he sustained during his time in production, and he will never be able to walk or swim like a normal duck.
- Harper arrived at the shelter missing his left eye…He too suffered from hepatic lipidosis (or fatty liver syndrome) which caused him to have difficulty breathing. In addition, the left side of his skull was malformed and depressed more than the right, which gave his head an abnormal tilt. As a result of the protein-deficient diet fed to foie gras ducks, Harper’s potassium and uric acid levels were also dangerously low…[his] bill was malformed and he was missing patches of feathers. He has permanent damage to his sinus, most likely caused by trauma; this same trauma also likely resulted in the loss of his eye.
- Burton arrived at Farm Sanctuary stumbling on weakened legs under the weight of his force-fed physique. An extremely enlarged liver, along with excessive mucus in his upper respiratory tract, caused Burton to wheeze through his beak as he breathed. Along with Kohl and Harper, Burton had to be tube-fed formula at first because he could not eat on his own. (more)
Burton eventually healed enough to join Farm Sanctuary’s main flock, while Kohl and Harper live in a special, customized area that best suits their needs. Kohl remains severely disabled, but caregivers provide him with swim therapy so that he can float freely in his own pond. And though the birds will never be completely rehabilitated, they now lively safely, with access to sunshine and water and friends.
Liberation BC is proud to support Farm Sanctuary by participating in the annual Walk for Farm Animals. Won’t you join us?