A foie gras factory farm is really no different than any other industrialized farming facility in that animal cruelty is widespread even if it’s deemed “legal” or “industry standard.”
In order to produce foie gras – a French term for “fatty liver” – a duck or goose, typically confined for its entire life to a small, filthy indoor cage with other birds, is force fed up to four pounds of grain per day via a thick, metal tube that is shoved down his or her throat.
Foie gras birds are subjected to this cruelty day in and day out until they are slated to become a “delicacy” and slaughtered. At this point, their livers have usually swelled to up to 10 times their natural size.
However, this type of activity – the act of force feeding – is considered “natural” for a duck or goose since they would normally “gorge” themselves on food anyways, according to proponents of the foie gras industry. Of course, this is just another lie that is circulated to continue exploiting animals for profit and in the name of “tradition.”
A number of undercover investigations have revealed the rampant cruelty in foie gras factory farms, including a more recent 2013 investigation conducted by animal rights nonprofit Mercy for Animals (MFA) as a part of their AmazonCruelty.com campaign.
In May 2013, MFA sent an undercover investigator into the nation’s largest foie gras factory, Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG) in New York, who supplies foie gras to Amazon.com.
The investigation documented numerous cruelties including birds with open, bleeding wounds left suffering without proper veterinary care and fully conscious ducks having their throats cut open while shackled upside down. Video footage of the investigation is readily available online.
During the course of the investigation, MFA’s investigator happened to mention that he was going to shop for a present for his mother after work as it was the Friday before Mother’s Day.
The facility manager suggested he give her female ducklings as a present, since females are considered “less valuable to the foie gras industry because their livers are more veiny,” as MFA director of investigations, Matt Rice tells OGP.
Realizing the rarity of this opportunity to actually save the lives of a few animals normally destined for slaughter, MFA’s investigator jumped at the opportunity to bring the days-old ducklings with him, who he named Ellen, Carrie, Emily and Kristen.
Yet, instead of taking the four to his mother, he brought them to the safe haven of Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
From the day they arrived, these girls have been inseparable, reports Farm Sanctuary.
They absolutely love swimming and diving to the “bottom of the pond and then shoot[ing] back up,” despite the common claim by foie gras proponents that they, as Moulard breed ducks, “hate the water.”
They are not only “very active and very happy,” as Farm Sanctuary reports, but also free forever from a short life of forced agony and a painful death. They are indeed quite the lucky ducks! What beautiful carefree creatures they have grown up to be!
Meet the girls when they were first brought in to Farm Sanctuary with the adorable video below!
Lead image source: Farm Sanctuary