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The cruel method behind fois gras

All this month, in the lead-up to Christmas, people who wouldn't dream of eating fois gras between January and November, find it on a menu and, keen to try something "posh", send in their order.

Few will know that by doing so, they are supporting a scandalous food practice.

The methods used to turn duck and goose livers into the delicacy known as pate de fois gras are anything but delicate.

Fois gras is a French term meaning "fatty liver". It is produced by force-feeding birds abnormally large amounts of high-protein food, usually corn.

The common method used to feed the caged or penned birds is via a 12 to 16-inch plastic or metal tube, shoved down their throats and attached to a pressurised pump.

The force-feeding may be performed twice daily for up to two weeks for ducks and three to four times daily for up to four weeks for geese

Force-feeding causes the liver to increase to about six to 10 times normal size.

This is how fois gras is produced.

Few consumers would consider this practice acceptable.

Most would refuse to order it if they knew. The next time you see fois gras on a menu, you might let the manager know a product that comes from force-feeding ducks and geese is more than you can stomach.

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GERRY BOLAND

ANIMALS IN CRISIS

KEADUE, CO ROSCOMMON


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