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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Newsletters - Fall 2004 Issue

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 www.GourmetCruelty.com 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 torture.

Please do what you can to help make the U.S. foie gras free:

•  Don’t buy foie gras and let others know why.

•  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 nofoiegras@mhvs.org 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 industry.

Donations to GourmetCruelty.com can be made online at http://gourmetcruelty.com/donate.php  or mailed to, GourmetCruelty.com, P.O. Box 9707, Washington, DC 20016.

We look forward to hearing from you

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