Farm Sanctuary Presses Canadian Government to Investigate Foie Gras Industry Amidst New Evidence of Cruelty

October 1, 2007
9:45 AM

CONTACT: Farm Sanctuary
607- 583-2225.

Farm Sanctuary Presses Canadian Government to Investigate Foie Gras Industry Amidst New Evidence of Cruelty
New Video Reveals Scope of Abuse on Canada's Largest Foie Gras Farms

NEW YORK - October 1 Farm Sanctuary, North America's leading farm animal protection organization and environmental group Global Action Network (GAN) are taking their fight against foie gras to the federal level in Canada. Farm Sanctuary now has undercover footage of horrifying abuses committed at three of the largest foie gras production facilities in Canada. The sickening images captured inside Palmex, Aux Champs D'Elise, and Elevages Perigord, demonstrate that a culture of torture and abuse pervades the foie gras industry.

The most recent video from Aux Champs D'Elise includes the all too familiar scenes of force feeding and rough handling but also reveals shocking footage of a worker under the age of 18 cutting the head off a live duck with a hunting knife.

"We are asking the Canadian Government to investigate the foie gras industry and hold the industry, and the owners of these businesses accountable for the rampant abuse which has been documented," said Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary and GAN have submitted video evidence and expert testimony to the local authorities, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Agriculture.

According to Andrew Plumbly, a director of Global Action Network, "Foie gras production methods are inherently cruel and the existence of this industry, that so obviously disregards animal welfare, debases and degrades every Canadian. Canada needs to ban the production of foie gras now."

Male ducks and geese used in foie gras production in Canada are de-billed, de-toed and forced to live in extreme confinement in filthy cages. The female ducklings are discarded as trash, as their livers do not grow at the same rate as the males. Nutritionally incomplete gruel is pressure-pumped down the drakes' throats through a metal pipe several times a day. This force feeding is known to cause bruising, lacerations, sores, trauma, and even death. It also creates the grossly oversized and diseased "fatty liver" for which foie gras is named. Gasping, regurgitating and struggling to move, the birds endure this process every day at the end of their short lives.

Seventy-two percent of the foie gras imported into the U.S. comes from Canada. A leading distributor of foie gras in the United States is D'Artagnan, owned by Ariane Daguin. Daguin is an active member of the Artisan Farmer's Alliance, a group formed to promote foie gras consumption, after laws were passed in California and Chicago to end the production and sale of the notoriously cruel product.

Daguin continues to claim the foie gras D'Artagnan sells is "natural" and produced by small sustainable family farms; that ducks are not abused, and that the ducks' livers are not destroyed. Daguin's claims, while part of a marketing campaign by the Artisan Farmer's Alliance, could not be further from the truth. D'Artagnan's primary Canadian supplier is in fact Palmex. Revealed in all its brutality in Farm Sanctuary's footage, Palmex is a factory farm which holds thousands of birds, who are force fed to produce the liver disease that gives foie gras its particular flavor. Scientific evidence has also linked foie gras consumption with human health risks.

Baur added, "We're not concerned about the outrageous claims Ms. Daguin makes about the production of foie gras. She's economically dependent on cruelty, and therefore not the most reliable source. We have science, photographic evidence and public opinion on our side. Torture is torture, and it must end."

About Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. Additional information can be found at or by calling 607- 583-2225.