Letters to the Editor

Sickening details omitted from story on foie gras

The Bloomberg News story on California outlawing foie gras, printed in the Sept. 11 newspaper, does not adequately describe the misery inflicted on ducks used in foie gras production. The devil is in the details.

On foie gras "farms," ducks typically are confined in tiny wire cages, unable to move around, much less engage in natural behaviors, such as flying or swimming. Several times a day, a metal pipe is forcibly pushed down each duck's throat, and up to four pounds of grain are pumped into the animal's stomach. This inherently traumatic process often results in ruptures of the esophagus or other internal organs. After a month of such treatment, the duck's liver has swollen five to 10 times its normal size; many birds become so bloated they no longer can stand up.

Underground footage taken at major foie gras production facilities in New York state can be viewed in a short video narrated by Sir John Gielgud, titled "Victims of Indulgence," or in a more recent video narrated by Kate Winslet and available on PETA's website. These explain why foie gras has been banned in the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, South Africa and now in California.

Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words. The story in the newspaper contained a photograph of a foie gras gourmet dish. It should have included a picture of a defenseless duck with a pipe shoved down its throat.

Kay Hodnett

Hilton Head Island