The Backyard

The Backyard

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Foie Gras-Please Don't Support the Production of It

Foie Gras, pronounced “fwah Grah”, I’m proud to say is a food I never heard of until I became an adoptive parent of a rescued chicken, Mr. Pickles. His home, The Farm Sanctuary, takes in all kinds of farm animals rescued from factory farming or inhumane food production sources. The beautiful calendar I received as part of my adoption, has a gorgeous duck named Julep on the January photo. Each month features a rescued animal, and their story. It turns out, Julep was part of a Canadian Foie Gras production facility, where she was thrown on the dead pile as a hatchling, because she’s a female. Farm Sanctuary rescued her and several other ducks from in the trashcan. Foie Gras is fatty duck liver, and the production is just horrid – they force feed male ducks 4 lbs of corn meal mush a day (that’s equivalent to 60 lbs of mush force fed to a human), over a 2-3 week period to fatten them up – mainly to enlarge their liver for a “delicacy” dish that some restaurants offer. I was again in tears seeing pictures of these poor ducks being force fed with tubes of mush. I have to stop looking at these websites… its tearing me apart! My husband thinks I’m insane when he sees me crying…. over a duck or a chicken. Sorry honey, I’m just an old farm-animal loving country girl – its in my genes! (my parents would cry too at these things). After seeing this, and reading more on animal cruelty, I'm officially giving up meat (yet again!) and this time I'm including dairy – if you drink milk or eat any dairy products, you are supporting the veal industry and I absolutely will not advocate veal production either. Farm animals need more rights! I may end up totally vegan; something I thought about and toyed with a little bit for quite some time and I think now is the time to officially do it.


Anonymous said...

I never even learned what foie gras was until recently either. When I did, I couldn't believe it was so. Especially the force-feeding, torturing another creature for a temporary meal. A delicacy at what cost? Not just the duck, but also one's own human-ness. I know many feel differently, as the meal/production still continues, but I just can't stand it.

Maybe part of it is the distance? Its easy to push away from the mind what really happens or some of the more disturbing parts of the process when the animal is "faceless", just as it may be easier to wage war (large or personal scale) against an idea or group that is just abstract rather than personalized? But when you have Mr. Pickles and other images of that life in front of you, it becomes painfully real.

Though I do want to ask, about the dairy industry, how would you interpret/feel about locally produced milk? I get milk from farmers I know, who I can meet weekly and who I know produce only what they need from small numbers of cows that are allowed to graze and live good lives. They are not part of the veal or other industries, they just provide milk and cheese for their local communities. My mother grew up drinking milk from a cow or goat she milked herself that morning, that she knew and knew the treatment of. Does that make a difference in your mind? (Not trying to change yours or anyone else's mind on something you believe in, just raise a question to think about.)

Chili said...

Thanks for the comment and insight. Local milk? What you describe it totally acceptable - the farmers are NOT using the babies for veal production and the animals are living peaceful, humane lives. It sounds like you have a good relationship with the locals and they share exactly what their "process" is -- that's the way is should be. For me, every local cattle farm (even the one I used to get the raw milk from and I'd see the cows in the field), have the tiny veal pens with baby cows in them. Personally, for now, its better for me to simply go dairyless taking a secondary reason into consideration - the health side of it and the saturated fat in raw milk and cheeses (my body doesn't react well to saturated fat in any quanitity).

Anonymous said...

Makes sense - I can relate about the saturated fats having a negative effect on my system, it actually makes me ill for days (which is why I use skim milk only and don't eat the cheeses).
Another thing with the cheeses is that many (Most) are made with rennet, part of the stomach lining of a young calf. There are kosher and halal cheese that use vegetable rennet, but often they are not so easy to find.