Foie gras (pronounced fwa gra) is a cholesterol and fat loaded pâté that is uniquely cruel to animals. French for “fatty liver,” foie gras is produced by force-feeding geese or ducks so that large amounts of fat form in the liver. The diseased liver swells up to ten times its natural size, leading to impaired function and making it difficult for the birds to even walk.
Like all animals confined inside factory farms, geese and ducks are crammed inside small cages or crowded warehouses where they are denied everything that is natural to them. Ducks are often cramped inside tiny wire cages hardly larger than their bodies with only their heads free. Like many pigs inside factory farms, these ducks cannot even turn around. Factory farm workers go down the line grabbing hold of their necks and shoving pipes down their delicate throats twice a day to pump 2.2 pounds of grain and fat into their stomachs. Geese are force-fed three times a day with 4 pounds of grain and fat. Because force-feeding the birds often tears their esophagus, causes pneumonia, and severely damages the liver, there is a much higher mortality rate on foie gras farms than other factory farms. The process is so hard on their bodies that force-feeding typically only happens in the last 2-3 weeks before the birds are sent to slaughter, when they are only 3-4 months old.
Because of the inherent cruelty of foie gras, its production is banned in the state of California and in several countries, including Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Poland. There are only a couple foie gras factory farms in the United States, which have been documented in undercover investigations from Animal Protection & Rescue League.
Several years ago, following pressure from activists in Salt Lake City, nearly a dozen Utah restaurants took foie gras off their menu. After one chef took Hudson Valley foie gras off the menu, the owner of the factory farm invited him to visit the farm to disprove activist claims. The chef took him up on the offer, but after seeing the farm was only more certain that he would never again serve foie gras. Since then, a handful of restaurants have started serving foie gras in the valley.
If you go to a restaurant that serves foie gras, we encourage you to take your business elsewhere and tell the staff why you won’t support their restaurant. Be sure to contact UARC to let us know that a local restaurant is serving foie gras so we can follow up with them with additional information and video footage of foie gras factory farms.
Stay tuned to UARC’s website and social media for upcoming opportunities to protest local businesses that serve foie gras.