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Friday, April 3, 2009

FOIE GRAS - What is it?

Foie Gras - what is it?

‘Foie Gras’ is a French word meaning, literally, ‘fatty liver.’ Ducks and geese are the birds used to produce Foie Gras, a product that always means animal cruelty.

The birds are fed two to three times a day, every day, by the insertion of a 50cm long metal tube, forced directly into the animals stomach. A large amount of maize and fat is pumped down the tube, an act that is called ’stuffing’. Stuffing makes the animals sick. Their livers grow several times their normal size. The result is a sick organ – sold expensively as ‘fatty liver’ – Foie Gras.

A relic from the Barbarian Age

This stuffing of ducks has its beginning in ancient Egypt. As early as 2500BC people began to overfeed ducks and geese to produce fatty livers. At that time there were no laws to protect animal welfare. Today, despite this cruel practice being outlawed in many countries, the practice continues and the end product, “Foie Gras” is treated as a delicacy.

Illegal across 14 countries, yet the sick trade continues…

Although the ‘stuffing’ of ducks and geese is today prohibited in 14 European countries, the Foie Gras industry continues by fattening the animals in countries yet to ban the practice.

Sadly, even those States that have forbidden the production of ‘fatty liver’ continue to import the product, which would be illegal if produced at home. As a result, production continues in those countries that have poor, or no, animal welfare laws. A scandal that must end.

... but production continues

Worldwide, 40 million ducks and geese are bred for the production of Foie Gras. Today, 96% of all animals subjected to ‘stuffing’ are ducks, because husbandry and feeding are cheaper than for geese.

While geese need to be stuffed three or four times a day, ducks return the same profit on being stuffed two times a day.

Hungary is the biggest exporter in the world, and after France, it is the second biggest producer of Foie Gras. Three million animals live in Hungarian Foie Gras farms. 2000 tons of stuffed liver are spread from Hungary to Europe and Asia. The principal customers for Hungarian ‘fatty liver’ are France, Japan and Belgium. These are followed by Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Slovakia and Spain.

France is the biggest producer of Foie Gras. 80% of the worldwide Foie Gras production comes from France. In 2005 France produced 18.45 tonnes of Foie Gras. In the same year, Bulgaria produced 1.5 tons.

You can read this item : Hungary’s largest foie gras producer Pannon Lud stops poultry force-feeding




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