British newspaper The Independent reported in December that animal rights activists in France have started a campaign to try to outlaw the force feeding of geese in the production of foie gras there.
Foie gras producers maintain there is nothing cruel or unusual about force feeding ducks and claim it mimics behavior patterns of migratory birds.
Opponents of foie gras argue the practice is cruel and, besides, most of the species used to produce foie gras are not migratory. One of the organizers of the campaign to abolish force feeding, Sebastien Arsac, told The Independent,
Force-feeding kills a million ducks and geese in France every year and makes another 39 million ill. They suffer from diarrhoea, forced breathing, painful displacement of internal organs and inflammation of the neck.
The European Union has already decided that force feeding of geese constitutes animal cruelty and ordered farms not to find alternative methods for producing foie gras. But, it also gave the world’s leading producers of foie gras — France and Hungary — 15 years to comply with that requirement.
Given the large numbers of people employed in foie gras production in both countries and the likelihood that no alternative acceptable to animal activists will be found, however, even that 15 year deadline is likely to end up being a moving target.
Hungary foie gras farms under threat. Nick Thorpe, BBC, January 12, 2004.
Foie gras: forcing a feeding rethink. Datamonitor, January 13, 2004.
Animal Rights Activists Try To Knock Stuffing Out Of Foie Gras. John Lichfield, The Independent (UK), December 28, 2003.
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