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Culture

Animal Activists Say Foie Grois Production is Cruel

Foie gras -- fattened goose or duck liver -- is sold as a gourmet item. But a German pressure group wants to see to it that everyone in the country is aware of how the swollen livers are actually produced.

a flock of geese

Force-feeding animals is banned in Germany, but the country imports foie gras from force-fed birds

In a graphic video compiled by animal-rights campaigners, witnesses at a poultry farm in southern France said that long metal funnels pumped a mixture of maize and oats down the birds' throat four to five times a day.

This ensures that the birds’ livers grow as much as possible before they are slaughtered.

Not only do the force-fed ducks and geese frequently develop cancer of the liver, they also very often end up with maimed bills and ruptured stomachs due to the metal funnels.

Foie gras shop

Some consider it a luxury

The German pressure group Pro-Animal Action has been up in arms about such feeding practices for a long time. On Friday, Oct. 24, they started a campaign to raise people’s awareness.

Just outside one of the busiest train stations in downtown Berlin on Friday, the campaigners greeted travelers with a huge plastic goose and showed passers-by how farms in many places in Europe were still torturing fowl to produce foie gras in large quantities.

Germany allows import but not force-feeding

"It's forbidden in Germany to force-feed animals," said biologist Ursula Bauer from Pro-Animal Action. "Nevertheless, the people in Germany like to eat the products and so there is a growing demand. We want them to eat other things because it's very cruel -- in Poland and especially in France.

"It's a paradox that people are eating things that are forbidden in Germany," she said.

Germans consume about 135 tons of foie gras every year, with most imports coming from France, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria.

It’s important that people learn more about the cruelty committed on geese and duck farms in Europe, said one campaigner from Britain.

"It's not a well-known fact that they're force-fed and I think if people do know how they're treated then they'll think twice about buying this product in the future," she said.

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