Foie Gras = Gourmet Cruelty
By Sarahjane Blum
Behind closed doors at three factory
farms in the United States, exploited employees busily raise, torture and
slaughter more than one half million ducks each year to produce the
gourmet cruelty-based product called foie gras. Recently a coalition of
compassionate and concerned individuals formed
with the goal of enlightening the general public about the
suffering of these animals, and helping local animal advocacy groups rid
their communities of this barbarity.
Sarahjane with a rescued duck
Foie Gras – a French phrase meaning
"fatty liver" – refers to the grossly enlarged liver of a duck or goose.
Medically known as hepatic lipidosis, foie gras is a disease marketed as a
delicacy. To make foie gras, three times a day birds are force-fed
enormous quantities of food through a long metal pipe. This process of
deliberate and painful overfeeding continues for up to a month, by which
time the birds’ livers have swelled up to 12 times their healthy size.
Over the course of a year,
GourmetCruelty.com conducted a nationwide investigation of the domestic
foie gras industry. Investigators uncovered filthy, crowded conditions and
documented an industry standard of disregard for the pain and suffering
inherent in foie gras production.
Here in the Hudson Valley, in the
small resort Sullivan County village of Ferndale, resides the largest foie
gras producer in the U.S. At Hudson Valley Foie Gras, row after row of
ducks are isolated in cages so small they can barely move. When the
coalition's investigators peered through these rows, they found many sick
and injured birds as well as birds languishing beside the corpses of birds
who were unable to survive the harsh conditions on the factory farm.
During the course of our
investigations, GourmetCruelty.com discovered corpses of ducks who had
literally burst open through overfeeding. Investigators also found many
birds who had choked to death on their own vomit. Necroscopsies performed
by veterinarians on dead ducks taken from the farms determined that some
of the birds had died of aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia is a
painful and often fatal condition that is caused when, during the process
of force-feeding, food is pushed into the birds' lungs.
Those birds who manage to survive the
overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, confinement, and repeated trauma of
forced-feeding, are slaughtered at barely four months old.
Over the course of the investigation,
GourmetCruelty.com’s investigators were able to rescue 15 of these
long-suffering ducks. Stemming from this compassionate act, I have been
charged with felony burglary and am facing a lengthy jail term. Serving as
spokesperson for GourmetCruelty.com, I was arrested earlier this year
after a screen-
ing at Syracuse University of the
undercover documentary called "Delicacy of Despair.”
Legal fees are mounting as the
campaign to ban foie gras in the U.S. is gaining momentum. California has
passed a bill to phase out the production of foie gras by 2012, and New
York has been considering a similar bill to put an end to this barbarous
Please do what you can to help make
the U.S. foie gras free:
• Don’t buy foie gras and let others
• Help the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian
Society educate local restaurants and grocery stores about the animal
suffering taking place on foie gras factory farms, and ask them to take
this gourmet cruelty off their menus and shelves. Email
to get involved.
• Make a donation to
GourmetCruelty.com to support the Sarahjane Blum defense fund and allow us
to continue our efforts to bring to light the cruelties of the foie gras
Donations to GourmetCruelty.com can be
made online at
mailed to, GourmetCruelty.com, P.O. Box 9707, Washington, DC 20016.