Foie gras gavage

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Foie gras gavage

Lauren Frayer. The farm's green rolling hills are covered with olive, oak, fruit and nut trees, which provide ample food for migrating geese.

foie gras gavage

Lauren Frayer for NPR hide caption. A five-hour drive southwest of Madrid, I pull into a tiny town square filled with songbirds and an outsized Catholic church — where Eduardo Sousa and Diego Labourdette are waiting.

They're an odd couple. Sousa is a jovial fifth-generation Spanish farmer. Labourdette is a soft-spoken academic — an ecologist and migratory bird expert — who teaches at a university in Madrid.

But they're in business together — in the foie gras business. InSousa and Labourdette teamed up to market an ethical, sustainable way of making foie gras — the fatty goose or duck liver that's a delicacy in Europe. Most foie gras is the result of gavage, or force-feeding. Producers force tubes down geese's throats and pump the birds' stomachs with more grain over the course of a couple weeks than they would normally eat in a lifetime.

As a result, their livers grow 10 times bigger, with large deposits of fat — which is what makes foie gras so rich. But this practice is banned in at least 20 countries. Diego Labourdette left and Eduardo Sousa are business partners — together they run a 1,acre goose farm just outside of Pallares, Spain. Sousa and Labourdette figured out how to ditch the force-feeding — their product is made from wild geese who touch down in Spain once a year to gorge themselves on acorns and olives before flying south for the winter.

They have since become darlings in the culinary world. The duo set out to commercially produce foie gras in a natural, sustainable way. But Sousa says their technique is nothing new: It was used in Spain more than years ago, before the Spanish Inquisition. They used to raise geese on this land. As he walks among rolling green hills, dotted with olive trees and oaks, Sousa calls out to his approximately 2, geese as if they were children.

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The geese here roam free — they're not housed in coops. In fact, the farm hardly has any buildings at all. Instead of force-feeding, the geese fatten themselves up naturally — doubling their body weight in just a few weeks to prepare for their annual migration.According to French law, [1] foie gras is defined as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by gavage.

In Spain [2] and other countries, it is occasionally produced using natural feeding. Ducks are typically slaughtered at days and geese at days. Foie gras is a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine. Its flavor is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of an ordinary duck or goose liver. French law states that "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France.

The technique of gavage dates as far back as BCwhen the ancient Egyptians began keeping birds for food and deliberately fattened the birds through force-feeding. Gavage-based foie gras production is controversialdue mainly to the animal welfare concerns about force-feeding, intensive housing and husbandry, and enlarging the liver to 10 times its usual volume.

A number of countries and jurisdictions have laws against force-feeding, and the production, import or sale of foie gras; even where it is legal, a number of retailers decline to stock it.

As early as BC, the ancient Egyptians learned that many birds could be fattened through forced overfeeding and began this practice. Whether they particularly sought the fattened livers of birds as a delicacy remains undetermined. At the side stand tables piled with more food pellets, and a flask for moistening the feed before giving it to the geese. The practice of goose fattening spread from Egypt to the Mediterranean. It was not until the Roman period, however, that foie gras is mentioned as a distinct food, which the Romans named iecur ficatum ; [14] [15] [16] iecur means liver [17] and ficatum derives from ficusmeaning fig in Latin.

Hence, the term iecur ficatumfig-stuffed liver; feeding figs to enlarge a goose's liver may derive from Hellenistic Alexandria, since much of Roman luxury cuisine was of Greek inspiration.

After the fall of the Roman empire, goose liver temporarily vanished from European cuisine. Some claim that Gallic farmers preserved the foie gras tradition until the rest of Europe rediscovered it centuries later, but the medieval French peasant's food animals were mainly pig and sheep. The Judaic dietary law, Kashrutforbade lard as a cooking medium, and butter, too, was proscribed as an alternative since Kashrut also prohibited mixing meat and dairy products.

Some Rabbis were concerned that eating forcibly overfed geese violated Jewish food restrictions. Some rabbis contended that it is not a forbidden food treyf as none of its limbs are damaged and the geese did not feel any pain in their throats from the process.

Usually, salting achieves that; however, as liver is regarded as " almost wholly blood", broiling is the only way of kashering.

foie gras gavage

Properly broiling a foie gras while preserving its delicate taste is difficult, and therefore rarely practiced. Even so, there are restaurants in Israel that offer grilled goose foie gras. Foie gras also bears resemblance to the Jewish food staple, chopped liver. Appreciation of fattened goose liver spread to gastronomes outside the Jewish community, who could buy in the local Jewish ghetto of their cities.

InBartolomeo Scappichef de cuisine to Pope Pius Vpublished his cookbook Operawherein he writes that "the liver of [a] domestic goose raised by the Jews is of extreme size and weighs [between] two and three pounds".

I used goose liver fattened by Bohemian Jews, its weight was more than three pounds. You may also prepare a mush of it. In the 21st century, France is by far the largest producer and consumer of foie gras, though it is produced and consumed in several other countries worldwide, particularly in some other European nations, the United States, and China.

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The European Union recognizes the foie gras produced according to traditional farming methods label rouge in southwestern France with a protected geographical indication. France is the principal market for Hungarian foie gras — mainly exported raw.

Approximately 30, Hungarian goose farmers are dependent on the foie gras industry. Some countries have produced foie gras only sporadically in the past. InFrance produced 18, tonnes of foie gras Total French consumption of foie gras in this year was 19, tonnes. The demand for foie gras in the Far East is such that China has become a sizeable producer.

In in Bulgaria which started production in5 million mule ducks were raised for foie gras on farms. This figure makes Bulgaria the second largest producer in Europe. This required the force-feeding of around 38 million ducks and geese.The production of foie gras the liver of a duck or a goose that has been specially fattened involves the controversial force-feeding of birds with more food than they would eat in the wild, and more than they would voluntarily eat domestically.

The feed, usually corn boiled with fat to facilitate ingestiondeposits large amounts of fat in the liver, thereby producing the fatty consistency sought by some gastronomes. Animal rights and welfare activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States [1] and the Animal Legal Defense Fund [2] contend that foie gras production methods, and force feeding in particular, constitute cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.

Specific complaints include livers swollen to many times their normal size, impaired liver function, expansion of the abdomen making it difficult for birds to walk, death if the force feeding is continued, and scarring of the esophagus. In modern gavage-based foie gras production, force feeding takes place 12—18 days before slaughter. Late inthe French group Stopgavage "Citizens' Initiative for the banning of force-feeding" published the Proclamation for the Abolition of Force Feeding, which asks justices to find foie gras production practices a violation of existing animal welfare laws.

Stopgavage, through its president Antoine Comiti, has criticized the INRA a French public research institute for allowing its researchers to receive grants from the foie gras industry for conducting research aimed at contradicting the EU report conclusions.

PETA wants this practice, which they say is cruel, [12] [13] stopped. Various American celebrities have lent their voices to this public campaign. It examines several indicators of animal welfare, including physiological indicators, liver pathology, and mortality rate.

It strongly concludes that "force feeding, as currently practised, is detrimental to the welfare of the birds. Members of the committee describe how geese and ducks show "avoidance behaviour indicating aversion for the person who feeds them and the feeding procedure". Although the committee reported that there is no "conclusive" scientific evidence on the aversive nature of force feeding, and that evidence of injury is "small", in their overall recommendations, the committee stated that "the management and housing of the birds used for producing foie gras have a negative impact on their welfare".

On physiology, the report finds that based on studies available, "no definite conclusions can be drawn concerning the physiological activity of birds in response to force feeding" because although "force feeding induced hepatic steatosis in the duck or goose", "hepatic steatosis in the waterfowl is a normal metabolic response" and there was a low incidence of lesions.

If gavage is stopped the "return to normal took approximately four weeks". As an economic indicator the report states "it is strongly in the interest of the farmer" to avoid disease as the "resulting fat liver is of no commercial value".

It summarizes that "some pathologists consider this level of steatosis to be pathological but others do not" and recommends that research "should be carried out into methods of producing fat liver which do not require the use of force feeding".

The EU report notes that continued force feeding leads to early death of the animal, and the birds are typically slaughtered just at the point that mortality would drastically increase from the force feeding. On the force feeding process, the EU committee examined several experiments carried out by INRA Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique to detect pain or distress by looking at blood hormones, and found that no definite conclusions can be drawn from these studies.

Other studies looked at behavioral aversion to the feeding process and found that force fed ducks avoided the feeding pen when given a choice, whereas a majority of the control group not being force fed would enter the feeding pen voluntarily.

Daily hand-feeding of ducks and geese is normally associated with a positive response by the animals towards the person feeding them. In contrast, the working group observed that ducks and geese in a pen kept away from their force feeder when he entered the room.

In an unpublished pilot experiment by INRA, ducks in cages reportedly displayed less avoidance behaviour to the force feeder's visit than to the visit of a neutral person coming along the cages later.

However, in the working group's own observations, "Ducks in cages had little opportunity to show avoidance but sometimes moved their heads away from the person who was about to force feed them. The report also recommends collection of additional data regarding the health of the animals, feeding methods, animal housing, and socio-economic factors.

In andthe American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates, the US accrediting body of veterinary medicine, was forwarded resolutions from its Animal Welfare Committee to oppose the production methods for foie gras. After hearing testimony from 13 delegates, the HOD declined to take a position and left a simple statement: "Limited peer-reviewed, scientific information is available dealing with the animal welfare concerns associated with foie gras production, but the observations and practical experience shared by HOD members indicate a minimum of adverse effects on the birds involved.

The HOD sent delegates to visit foie gras farms. One delegate, Robert P Gordon of New Jersey, indicated his personal position changed drastically after the visit. He also testified tube feeding is less distressing than taking the rectal temperature of a cat and urged the AVMA to take a position based on science, not emotion, while cautioning against anthropomorphism.

The New York delegation offered their opinion that opponents of foie gras were intending to create a wedge issue ; that the arguments used against foie gras would be modified to be used against other livestock production. The testimony of the delegate from the Association of Avian Veterinarians was that medicating and feeding sick birds via tube was a normal practice that birds accepted without stress.

Another delegate who toured the farms stated that the birds appeared to be well cared for and better off than other poultry raised in factory farming. The overall position of the House of Delegates was that "observations and practical experience shared by HOD members indicate a minimum of adverse effects on the birds involved. Critics of the AVMA have stated that the organization tends to defend the economic interests of agribusiness over animal welfare, and that it has also declined to take a position against other controversial practices such as forced molting and gestation crates.

In JuneNew York Times editor Lawrence Downes was invited to a visit [23] of the same farm, including specifically the gavage process, [24] and he "saw no pain or panic The birds submitted matter-of-factly to a inch tube inserted down the throat for about three seconds, delivering about a cup of corn pellets. The practice Downes' visit.For a small-plate dish, foie gras causes quite the stir. But it's not the hefty price tag that makes foie gras controversial. Foie gras production requires force-feeding birds to enlarge their livers — up to 10 times the normal size.

Many animal rights activists describe the process as cruel and torturous; government decision makers have been listening.

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New York City is currently home to about 1, restaurants that serve foie gras, but on Oct. New York will join California, Australia, India and numerous other places that prohibit foie gras for animal rights reasons. Whole Foods took foie gras off its shelves in Foie gras is a duck or goose liver fattened through a labor-intensive force-feeding process known as gavage. The process dates back to ancient times when Egyptians force-fed domesticated geese upon discovering that "waterfowl developed large, fatty livers after eating large amounts in preparation for migration," according to the Artisan Farmers Alliancea group representing foie gras farmers.

The g avage practice spread across the Mediterranean then into France in the late 16th century. He patented the dish in Foie gras — now a staple in France's gastronomical heritage — has a smooth texture and rich taste. It's mega-pricy due to the force-feeding labor and massive amount of feed needed to create the end product. In some cases, ducks and geese eat 4 pounds 1. In this process, farmers force ducks and geese to eat "fatty, corn-based feed through a tube inserted into their throats.

That's why the Big Apple's animal activists celebrated big when the foie-gras ban passed. According to the VFAR website, gavage can cause ducks to hyperventilate and bleed, and they're often shackled and have their throats cut during slaughter.

That's why the group led a coalition of over 50 nonprofits who rallied for billwhich prohibits "storing, maintaining, selling or offering to sell force-fed products or food containing a force-fed product," according to the bill. While Dominguez and other animal rights activists celebrated the foie-gras ban as a victory, those on the other side of the aisle are taking a stand.

The group and farmers say it's unconstitutionaland that NYC does not have jurisdiction over the state of New York's protected agricultural businesses. According to Catskill Foie Gras Collective President Marcus Henley, animal rights activists are the only ones who consider foie gras production inhumane.

Their physiology is very different and the tube causes no discomfort. The collective's ducks are cage freefed via small rubber tube versus traditional metaland individually inspected by a government food safety officerHenley says.

Collective members stand by their approach to foie gras production, and aren't the only ones voicing their disapproval of the ban. David Chang, esteemed chef and founder of NYC's wildly popular Momofuku restaurant, sides with the collective. While the war wages on over foie gras ethics, longtime food critic Adam Platt wrote in a Grub Street article he thinks the once-trendy foie gras was already on its way out.

Foie gras is often served sauteed, like this dish of foie gras on napoleon of dashi-braised daikon radish.Foie gras production is based on the natural ability of palmipeds to store large quantities of fat in their livers and sub-cutaneous tissue. Like wild birds before migration, fat palmipeds have a spontaneous tendency to overeat to build up energy reserves.

Thanks to the breeding of the best-suited animals and to improvements in the techniques used, the period during which Mulard ducks are fattened decreased from It has now reached an average of 11 days.

Fattening consists in giving ducks or geese a large quantity of feed two to three times a day, depending on the species, for a short period of time. The mix is placed using a smooth tube called an "embuc" adapted to the animal's anatomy i. The fattening phase for Mulard ducks lasts 12 days on average, that is, a total of 22 to 24 meals given two meals a day. The fattening phase starts at about 11 weeks when the ducks are put in individual cages or collective pens.

French farmers committed to a significant upgrade to their farms to remove all individual cages which will be forbidden as of 1 January The amount of food given to Mulard ducks increases very gradually by 20 g per meal over 10 days, based on each animal's capacity, and tops out at g.

The fattening phase for geese is about 18 days, based on three meals a day, for a total of 54 feedings. During the short period of the gavage, the ducks and geese are put into clean and well ventilated buildings. They are grouped together in collective pens. Epinettes were long used because they facilitated the handling of the animals and strongly limited the risks of them getting injured.

They have gradually been replaced by new types of collective cages, in accordance with the European convention adopted on 22 June The amount of feed is gradually increased from g to about g by the end of fattening. The amounts are adjusted to what the animals can ingest naturally in one feeding.

Fattening only lasts about 10 seconds. It consists in carefully placing a mix of whole or ground maize and water in the crop of the duck or goose.

To feed, the farmer introduces a smooth tube called an "embuc" into the animal's crop.

foie gras gavage

The equipment materials, buildings, etc. The genetic characteristics of the ducks and geese selected have enabled a decrease in the fattening phase. Farmers are always careful to ensure that their animals are in good health.

This is essential to ensure quality production. They pay particular attention to the health of their animals during the fattening phase. Sick and injured animals are immediately removed from the fattening process and given veterinarian care.

Farmers are very concerned about minimising animal mortality on their farms.

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This is true at every production step and, in particular, during fattening. Any increase in mortality would mean a financial loss that could threaten their livelihood. This is comparable to all other animal farming, regardless of species. Duck and goose farming is a true passion and tradition passed down from generation to generation.

Producers want you to know more about duck and goose Foie Gras. FR EN. The fattening of ducks and geese is a well-understood fattening method What is fattening?This day will send a resounding message of our vigorous and determined opposition to the torture of force-feeding ducks and geese. Please add your voice to our day of protest! For several years now, L has regularly informed the European Commission of the ways that the French and the other foie gras producing countries deliberately ignore the European laws concerning Animal welfare.

The citizens and groups supporting the Manifesto for the abolition of foie gras call attention to the unescapable ban of force-feeding -hence, of foie gras production.

Foie gras is the pathological liver of a bird suffering from hepatic steatosis. European Commission Scientific report of 16 December Diarrhoea, panting, walking difficulties, lesions and inflammations of the neck are daily realities.

Force-feeding has already been banned in most European Union countries. It has been banned since January 1, in Poland. It has just been banned in Italy, Israel and California on grounds of cruelty. In Chicago selling foie gras, including in restaurants, has just been banned on same grounds. Foie gras violates the principles of the European Convention for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes.

Skip to Main Content Area. Stop Gavage. Foie gras: The European Commission turns a blind eye to French law-breakers! Foie gras: scandal in the Parisian palaces of haute cuisine. Previous articles. Foie gras du Sud-Ouest : a visit in typical French foie gras farms. Stop foie gras Foie gras soon to be banned in Europe? Citizens' Initiative for the banning of force-feeding.

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Foie gras controversy

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