I have gotten a lot of shit for my passion of foie gras. Everytime I do, I die a little inside, not out of guilt for the duck/goose that was slaughtered for its liver, but for humanity's intellect which is at a rapid decline for wholeheartedly believing practically everything they read on the internet or hear from word of mouth without even doing a modicum of research into the truth. Whatever happened to intellectual curiosity?
I was five years old when I lost my foie gras virginity. It was during a brunch buffet at Equinox in Swissotel where my family was celebrating my birthday.
My dad had set a plate with an indiscernibly-shaped, wobbly piece of meat infront of me and informed me that it is goose liver and it tastes phenomenal, encouraging me to try some. I gingerly cut off a small slice and put it into my mouth, and in that exact instance, the cosmos aligned for me, everything in the world suddenly felt pristine and perfect, my eyes opened to the hidden paradise that only food as divine as this piece of liver can take you away to.
It was love at first bite. It was decadently rich and creamy with a delicate fruity sweetness and a subtle funkiness. Pan-seared foie gras is caramelized on its two flat sides, so it is nicely charred on the outside with a crisp texture, but extemely tender, succulent and buttery on the inside. Foie gras is 90% fat and it has this amazing key feature of melting at just below body temperature. Foie gras goes into your mouth in a highly viscous, semi-solid state and slowly melts away like butter, enveloping your mouth with the most heavenly taste and texture.
Needless to say, I promptly went back to the foie gras station for seconds, and thirds, and fourths and etc. Though there was a limit on foie gras for each diner, the chef secretly kept piling on the foie gras for me because he thought that I was a cute kid who knew how to appreciate the finer things in life at the tender age of five. In actual fact, I'm just a glutton. But I am a glutton who has done a lot of research into my favorite dishes because I am THAT passionate about eating.
Ducks Explode From Being Force Fed?!?!
Foie gras has long had a lot of controversy surrounding it, with the main subject of concern being the inhumane method of farming ducks and geese for their livers. People who argue against eating foie gras would mention how foie gras farmers shove metal tubes down the birds' throats that pierce their esophagus and pump in so much food that sometimes the birds explode. Is this true? Let us trace this claim back to the original source that brought this to attention.
AHA! Here is the source from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Basically the gist of the PETA article is that the birds are subjected to abuse by being force-fed, die from ruptured organs from over-feeding, housed in small metal cages with barely any room to move around, and female chicks (which can't be farmed for foie gras) are tossed into grinders as soon as they hatch.
Meat is Murder PETA campaign
Do note that this organization has an inherent penchant of organizing crazy, over-the-top publicity stunts that 90 per cent of the time involves nudity, like the Meat is Murder campaign where volunteers lie on huge styrofoam trays in the nude drenched in fake blood to mimic meat being sold in supermarkets, or filming a sarcastic video in the fictitious Sunny Acres Farm with naked volunteers contained in cramped metal cages looking petrified and mentally disturbed, and the most recent one where volunteers are actually branded with a red hot branding iron to show onlookers the pain that animals farmed for meat go through.
The list of insane antics conducted by PETA fanatics goes on and on, but these few examples should tell you how severely melodramatic the organization is. So maybe you should read their articles with a pinch of salt. If you still want to take their word for it, then maybe the next part, which is one of the saddest things I have ever discovered about an animal organization, will sway your belief.
The PETA Exposé: The Animal Shelter That Kills Puppies and Kittens
It has been revealed by countless of websites with photographic evidence that PETA's agenda gravitates towards holding shocking “artistic” demonstrations than actually offering shelter to abandoned and unwanted animals.
I have written a long article titled Animal Shelter of Horrors in graphic detail with numerous photos of dead dogs and cats that were frivolously thrown out like trash after they have been euthanized by PETA.
Now I am not living in the illusion of a perfect whimsical world. I do understand that many animal shelters are faced with the difficult decision of putting down certain old and unadoptable animals when they run out of space. But what PETA is running is basically a slaughter-house. Instead of using their time and resources getting these poor animals adopted, they would rather kill them so that they can focus their energy on their crazy publicity stunts.
In 2012 alone, PETA euthanized 89.4% of the animals they received. These poor animals are sent to PETA with the intention of giving them a second shot in life but they are put down without a second thought and their bodies temporarily stored in a US$9,370 freezer installed solely for this purpose. The frozen bodies are then regularly picked up by Pet Cremation Services of Tidewater and incinerated. This entire inhumane process is paid for by the donations of animal-lovers who have no idea that their well-intended contributions would go to the mass murder of thousands of innocent lives.
In fact, over the past 11 years, PETA has massacred a staggering amount of 29,426 perfectly healthy animals. It is probably very difficult for animal-lovers to believe that their kindly donations are going towards ending the lives of these animals but there is concrete evidence showing that PETA is a hypocritical, unfeeling organization whose interest seem to primarily lie in organizing attention-grabbing publicity stunts rather than improving the lives of animals.
The PETA headquarters is based in Norfolk, Virginia. Even though PETA states that they believe “that animals have rights and deserve to have their best interests taken into consideration, regardless of whether they are useful to humans”, it does not seem to be the case at all. What they ACTUALLY believe in that they do not mention, is that people have a right to kill animals as long as it is done “humanely”, which in PETA terms mean poisoning them with an overdose of barbiturates, even if the animals are not suffering from any illnesses or wounds.
PETA defends themselves by blatantly LYING that all of the animals they kill are “unadoptable”. This is a complete, outright lie as numerous rescue groups, individuals, and veterinarians have come forward testifying that the animals they have passed over to PETA were healthy and adoptable. Former employees and interns have even admitted to PETA's monstrous acts, with one intern reporting that he quit in disgust after personally witnessing perfectly healthy, adorable and chubby puppies and kittens put down in the killing room.
“It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making the determination as to whether or not an animal is “unadoptable.” It is a lie because according to a state inspector, the PETA facility where the animals are impounded was designed to house animals for no more than 24 hours. It is a lie because Ingrid Newkirk herself admitted as much during a television interview: when asked whether or not PETA kills healthy animals, she responded, “Absolutely.” It is a lie because PETA staff have described the animals they have killed as “healthy,” “adorable” and “perfect.” It is a lie because PETA itself admits it does not believe in “right to life for animals.” And it is a lie because when asked what sort of effort PETA routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care, PETA had no comment.”
So what has the inhumane foie gras industry got to do with PETA killing puppies and kittens? Simple. It is a recipe for world domination. Or rather, a small step in their grand plan of turning everyone vegans. All their publicity stunts, and everything they release about the meat industry is aimed at getting people to stop consuming meat. All these radical projects and disturbing videos filmed in decrepit farms are funded with the money that is supposed to go towards finding animals their forever homes.
PETA had secretly filmed a video of a foie gras farm's facilities, with Kate Winslet narrating the sorrowful plights of the birds that are bred in this dilapidated farm. The video is truly disturbing – it shows ducks being forcefully handled while being fed, ducks hyperventilating in small cages, and ducks covered in their own feces. But what Kate Winslet failed to mention is the location of this particular farm that they filmed.
For all we know, it could have been a farm in China where animal rights are practically non-existential. They show you the worst of the worst, trying to portray that this is how every foie gras farm operates, when it is the farthest thing from the truth.
The above in-depth documentary on foie gras is the final episode of a three part series. In this video, a woman visits a foie gras farm in France where the ducks have free reign of the farm for a couple of hours and they are housed in spacious, sanitary pens. They are fed a special concoction of corn and duck fat (this is for the feed to slide down easier even though ducks don't have a gag reflex) through a tube and their necks massaged to ensure a smooth flow. A fixed amount of feed is fed once every morning and evening, and as shown in the video, it is really not a lot. It even shows how the ducks are prepped for the removal of their livers.
The documentary is a stark contrast to PETA's video. With that video, PETA has successfully managed to propagate their fanatism through foie gras as it a lesser known food. By buying into the whole “ducks explode from foie gras production” and preaching it to others, you are not only spreading false information but also a form of propaganda.
Forget PETA, and Focus on Yourself
PETA is a hypocritical organization, but you might just be a hypocrite too. Some foie gras production might not be as humane as you would like it to be, but do you know that the scrambled eggs you eat for breakfast, that chicken rice you consume for lunch, and the mee pok you have for dinner does not come from a land of sunshine and rainbows?
Male chicks being ground up alive
For example, something as innocuous as unfertilized eggs has a great deal of cruelty behind its production too. There needs to be a constant supply of new hens to replace old ones to keep up with the egg demand. So the farm sorts through cute, chirping, fluffy chicks once they hatch. They identify the female chicks and place them aside where as the males are thrown into a metal grinder alive (footage here).
Hens in the eggs industry
Hens die due to the terrible living conditions
Hens are also cramped into tiny, squalid cages once they reach maturity so that the eggs they lay simply roll down a tube and makes for simple gathering. To prevent deaths due to frustration from over-crowding, the female chicks' beaks are cut off with a hot blade so that they can't peck their cellmates.
Beaks severed off
Foie gras, poultry, red meat, pork and seafood – there is always some sort of cruelty behind the production of every single type of meat. A quick search on the internet will bring up the atrocities involved in the mass production of meat. But unless you are willing to give up meat and eggs entirely, and become a full-time vegan, shut the hell up about how consuming foie gras is cruel and eat your goddamn eggs that are as equally cruel in producing. And even then as a vegan, studies have shown that plants can tell when they are being eaten alive, and emit this frequency akin to screaming. Yup, there is no escaping the circle of life.