Why is there controversy around the production of foie gras?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is controversy over the production of foie gras because of the idea of animal rights and because people are opposed to what they see as cruelty to animals.  Supporters of animal rights believe that the production of foie gras is inhumane. 

Foie gras is made from the livers of male ducks and geese.  However, it cannot be made from a normal liver.  Instead, the ducks and geese must have their livers artificially enlarged in order to produce good foie gras.  The process by which this is done is, to some people, cruel and inhumane.  In this process, the ducks and geese are essentially force fed.  They have tubes put down their throats so that they can be made to ingest much more food than they ordinarily would.  This forced overeating causes their livers to become much bigger than usual.

Animal rights advocates argue that this is inhumane treatment.  They do not believe that it is right to subject animals to such treatment just to get a food that is a human delicacy.  For this reason, there have been calls to ban the production of foie gras and some cities have actually heeded these calls.

teachervee | Student

The controversy that surrounds the production of foie gras comes to the issue of "unethical treatment" of animals.

Foie gras is made up from male geese or ducks liver. However it is not a normal liver. The liver of these geese or ducks are artificially enlarged through the use of tube that enlarged the liver of the animal. The process of feeding induce tubes directly to throat down to the stomach. Butter and milk are common food that is forcibly induced on geese/ducks stomach. Animal rights advocates call it as inhumane treatment.

eli468 | Student

The controversy around producing foie gras is due to the practice known as gavage. This is where the ducks and geese that are to be slaughtered are force-fed with tubes put down their throat. This causes the liver to become enlarged. The reasoning behind the enlarging is due to hepatic lipidosis which is a diseased liver. This disease causes the liver to grow as much as ten times their usual size.

The controversy is due to what the force-feeding does to the animal. It isn't just an animal being feed through a tube down their throat. Animal rights' activists are against the production of foie gras because of the following reasons.

"Force-feeding causes a number of injuries: bruising or perforation of the esophagus; hemorrhaging and inflammation of the neck resulting from the repeated insertion of the pipe into the throat; and asphyxia caused by food improperly forced into the trachea. Wounds of the esophagus may subsequently become infected. Force-feeding also results in numerous illnesses and disease, including hepatic lipidosis (how foie gras comes to be) bacterial and fungal infections, malnourishment, and lameness."

It is seen as a cruel and inhumane practice due to the fact the behavioral evidence shows that ducks and geese experience fear, stress, and pain from being force-fed.

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