It calls itself the "premier producer of foie gras in America." But, in 2013, a PETA investigator visited Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG), a factory farm, and saw workers shove steel tubes down ducks' throats and pump huge amounts of grain into them. The investigator recorded HVFG's manager stating that this is done three times a day, every day, for weeks.
The birds' livers become diseased and swell to up to 10 times their normal size. Fatty duck livers from HVFG are served at Gordon Ramsay at the London, a New York City restaurant licensed by Chef Ramsay.
Not surprisingly, experts opine that force-feeding causes ducks painful injuries, including, according to world-renowned avian welfare expert Dr. Ian Duncan, tearing of the esophagus. Dr. Duncan writes, "[T]he regular insertion of a feeding tube down the esophagus several times a day will inevitably lead to damage of the esophagus. When the esophagus becomes damaged, then the painfulness of every force-feeding episode will be exacerbated."
Veterinarian Holly Cheever, who has studied force-feeding's effects on ducks, explains, "Due to the enormous size of the livers … the birds have no room for their air sacs to fill with oxygen, and therefore all birds in the last 10-14 days of [force-feeding] show respiratory distress … analogous to feeling as if one is smothering for that entire length of time” [emphasis added].
HVFG condemns ducks to huge, dark sheds, where there is no water for them to bathe or swim in or eat from. They are denied any opportunity to live naturally like ducks.
After weeks of being force-fed, the ducks are hung upside down and their throats are slit. Many ducks sent to slaughter by the cruel foie gras industry are still conscious as their throats are cut and they bleed to death.
t HVFG, some 15,000 ducks die every year before they can be slaughtered. Even though a manager claims that the ducks "don’t get sick," 41 birds, on average, drop dead every day.
Some ducks' organs burst on foie gras factory farms. Experts have found that force-fed ducks also die of throat injuries, liver failure, or heat stress or because they can't reach drinking water—all direct results of force-feeding. Some die of aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when the grain is forced down into the ducks' lungs.
This was not PETA's first visit to Sullivan County. In 1991, PETA sent undercover investigators inside Commonwealth Enterprises, a fatty-liver factory farm that was acquired by HVFG. That investigation revealed cruel force-feeding and countless sick ducks—including one whose maggot-covered neck wound was so severe that water spilled out of it when he drank.
Decades have passed and the name has changed, but the cruelty continues.
Foie gras production is so cruel that at least 15 countries have banned it, including Australia, Germany, Israel, and the U.K. It has been denounced by many well-respected chefs and restaurateurs.
We need your help now to end this cruelty. Please sign the petition below to request that Chef Ramsay do the right thing and ditch this disgusting, vile product.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals started this petition with a single signature, and now has 710 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.