Late in the evening of October 30, a tragic fire raged through a barn at Hudson Valley Foie Gras.
The barn housed 11,000 breeder ducks, all of which perished in the fire. Thankfully, no humans were hurt.
Both PETA and Farm Sanctuary have swooped like vultures, releasing statements full of misinformation and propaganda. One criticism is that there were too many ducks confined in too small a space. This is absolutely untrue. I'd like to print Michael Ginor's refutation of this claim (made originally here):
"As a co-owner and co-founder of Hudson Valley Foie Gras I would like to thank Mr. Ruhlman for his well wishes and for placing his sympathy with the ducks, where they belong. We are very saddened by the fact that birds, that we so carefully and attentively care for, perished in this fire. These ducks were in a carefully maintained breeding barn and not a "storage facility" as has been somehow misreported. This was a relatively large barn, approximately 60,000 square feet in size. A "factory farming" type of operation would squeeze 40,000 ducks into such a space. "Humane" growing guidelines suggest 3 square feet per duck, allowing for about 20,000 ducks in such a coop. Hudson Valley utilized the space for 11,000 ducks allowing about twice the suggested space per bird. I am profoundly confused by the allegation of any inhumanity involved with this unfortunate event or the suggestion that these ducks were unkindly treated in any way."
So clearly, the ducks were living better than do animals in any other poultry rearing operation I know of.
My deepest sympathies go out to the farmers. Those who cared for these ducks will feel their loss most deeply.
Thankfully, it appears the business and the quality of the foie gras will not be affected, due to an alternative supplier of eggs.