Foie Gras, an Expensive Delicacy from the Diseased Liver of Tortured Duck
“Foie Gras” is French for “fat liver”, particularly that of a goose or duck. Unknown to many however, the liver of those birds are not unusually fat. With some external forces however, the liver are made to what are served in high-end restaurants as foie gras, an expensive culinary delicacy. It might interest many people as to what these outside forces actually are and what makes the liver of those birds grotesquely enlarged.
When the liver of a goose or duck become enlarged enough to be made into Foie Gras, it means it is already diseased. To achieve that state, the birds are force-fed for a number of weeks. They are made to eat, even if they are not hungry, via a metal pipe that are forcefully shoved into the bird’s throat going to the stomach, hurting and wounding the vital organs along the way. The birds are made to eat about 3 to 4 pounds of fat and grain up to three times daily. Translated to human consumption, this equates to about 45 pounds of pasta. The pipe that is used can sometimes puncture the throat and cause the birds to bleed to death. The food given to these animals will cause their livers to enlarge up to 10 times its normal size.
The cages where these birds are kept are made very small in order for the birds not to move around and be forced to stay in just a single position. This way, they will not use up energy and develop fat instead. As a result, the legs become bloated. Sleep is not possible since they will again be force-fed even before they fell asleep.
This will be the routine of these birds’ lives until they drop dead. The birds that managed to live longer have inflamed rears with blood coming out of their bowel. Those who are doing this to the birds may not know it but the animals go through excrutiating pain on a daily basis. The mouth, throat and stomach hurt. Freedom to roam around is not possible since they are caged till they die.
The cruelty to these animals has been made public already and many counties have already banned the sale of foie gras. Yet, there are still many who serve them in restaurants and even more who buy them. The main reason why many people are still patronizing this delicious delicacy is that they do not know what is behind its production.
Countries like the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Israel, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany and Luxemburg outlawed the production of foie gras. California did so too. No less than Pope Benedict XVI denounced the action and stated that force-feeding is not according to Biblical principles. James Bond actor Sir Lee Majors, who used to love ordering foie gras in restaurants before he learned how it is made, have now teamed up with APRL (Animal Protection & Rescue League) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to help in making people become aware of the situation of these birds and persuading them to stop eating foie gras. To them, foie gras is a disease, not a delicacy.
If the sorry state of the birds involved in the production of foie gras is not enough to make you stop eating it, maybe this will: a recent study showed a link between foie gras and a certain disease, an amyloid type that is found in tuberculosis or rheumatoid arthritis. Foie gras seems to enable the fast development of amyloid in those who eat it. Amyloidosis is a disease that involves the deposit of either mutated or normal proteins that became misfolded. In such an unstable state, this protein forms into fibrils that become deposited into the vital organs of the human, e.g., brain, heart, liver, kidney or pancreas. The process could lead to the failure of the organ and eventually to death.
If there will be no demand for foie gras, there will be no supply. The torture and cruelty to the animals will also end.