Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fire at Hudson Valley Foie Gras

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.


Anonymous said...

To quote Lizzie Vonhurst: "Of course, I can't say for sure that the legislators' silly ideas on banning food became their downfalls, but I can speculate. I am proud of the people of New Jersey and Philadelphia for taking a stand against an activist minority and supporting the freedom of choice. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity...and Foie!"

Wow, what a great issue to dedicate your life to, force feeding ducks and geese so that their livers are enlarged several times their normal size? Oh, I forget, they live in a very commodious barn with plenty of square footage. I am sure this is a tremendous boon to them as their livers are bursting and their throats have been perforated due to long, metal tubes being forced down their throat several times a day. "Chicago's Long Nightmare is Over"? My God, who's paying you to write this tripe? Aren't there enough orphans for you to worry about? Why is it that animal activists are always questioned about "the children" while shills like you rhapsodize over the joys of foie gras and animal abuse? Is this another of Berman & Co.'s sites? I noticed you have three of his corporate front sites listed. Berman & Co. is a Washington lobbyist firm located at:

Berman & Co.
1775 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006
202 463-7100

For anyone wondering who funds "Activist Cash", CCF and PETA Kills Animals, they include:

Armour-Swift, Bestfoods, Max & Erma's, Applebee's, Custom Cuts, Ruby Tuesday, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Coca Cola, Marie Calendar, Outback Steakhouse, Sugar Foods, National Steak and Poultry, Tyson Foods, Wendy's, White Castle, Cracker Barrel, Hooters, International House of Pancakes, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Steak & Ale, TGI Friday's, Uno's Restaurants and Perdue Farms as well as many others.

Rick Berman's sites and ads target perceived as threats to their corporate masters in the alchohol, tobacco, hotel, meat and dairy industries as in: animal rights groups, health advocates, smoking advocates, living wage advocates, labor unions and environmentalists. They actively oppose smoking bans, lowering the legal blood-alchohol level and minimum wage increases. The IRS Form 990 which it filed for the 6 month period from July to December 1999 (under the name of Guest Choice Network) showed that almost all of it's financial support came from a handful of anonymous sources. It received no income from membership dues.

If you lack the intestinal fortitude to see first hand what you have so strongly endorsed, you may view film footage of a fois gras farm at The feature film "A Sacred Duty" was made in Israel, a country that has banned fois gras. Copies of this film may be obtained free from the website or viewed in it's entirety on-line.

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights, that is the way of the whole human being. Abraham Lincoln

Anonymous said...

Foie gras is one of the most sickening examples of humans using cruelty to get luxury. The process used to fatten up the livers in ducks and geese is called “gavage”. It is force feeding them until their livers become diseased, cease to function and swell up to 10 times their normal size. People in the foie gras industry argue that ducks and geese do not have a gag reflex and that their necks are very flexible. Because of this, they say, the gavage process does not cause the bird discomfort when force feeding. In fact, because their necks are pliable, they are subject to wounds. The animals are force fed up to 3 times per day by inflexible tubes shoved down their throats, which at times, puncture their throats and cause them to bleed to death and suffer painful wounds. As much as four pounds of grain and fat is pumped into their stomachs while the bird desperately tries to get away. Some animals die from choking on their own vomit. Internal organs are ruptured and sometime forced out their backsides because of the intense pressure of the force feeding. One worker, at some farms, is responsible and expected to force feed up to 500 birds, 3 times per day and because of this rush, animals are roughly handled and left injured and suffering. Workers are often given monetary rewards for not “bursting” the bird. The birds live in unsanitary conditions either in a single wire cage or packed into sheds. The birds, more often than not, cannot walk because of their engorged livers and are reduced to propelling themselves by pushing with their wings. Sometimes, because of the stress, they pull out their feathers and cannibalize one another. This torture lasts 12-21 days. The birds that do survive the force feeding process are then slaughtered for their diseased livers.

Mr. Bernard Dehaene, the organizer of this year’s Philadelphia’s Foie Gras Week states that “the foie gras industry had been unfairly portrayed as cruel”. There is undercover footage by the Humane Society of the United States at Somoma Foie Gras Farms, one of three foie gras farms in the U.S., that shows rats eating the flesh of live ducks who are too bloated and crippled to defend themselves. Dr. Ward Stone, a wildlife pathologist with the NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation and Adjunct Professor at State Univ. of NY has on several occasions conducted post-mortems on ducks that died from force feeding, including ones from Hudson Valley Foie Gras Farms, the very same farm “giving away” the foie gras to Chefs of Choice. In September 2005 he writes, “…the short tortured lives of ducks raised for Foie Gras is well outside the norm of farm practice. Having seen the pathology that occurs from Foie Gras production, I strongly recommend that this practice be outlawed.”

If the foie gras industry is so uncruel, then why will California ban the sale and foie gras production by the year 2012? Why has the practice been outlawed in the U.K., Austria, Germany, The Czech Republic, Luxemborg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and Israel? Maybe Mr. Dehaene has been misinformed. Maybe he hasn’t watched the footage from inside one of these farms or even first-handedly watched the gavage process.

Celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Albert Roux are against the use of foie gras. Roux has argued that foie gras should come with a warning so that “people know what’s being done to the animals.” Chicago local celebrity chef, Charlie Trotter, maintains the production of foie gras is “too cruel to be served” and stopped serving it in his eponymous restaurant. These chefs have found it important to discontinue use of foie gras because of the cruelty involved & yet, they are still very successful celebrity chefs and their restaurants are thriving even without the foie gras. You can bet your life that they were hammered by the animal’s rights activists too. They chose the right thing to do to make their point.

The video & pictures that you may see On Hudson Valley’s website are glorified enormously. There have been many undercover investigations done at Hudson Valley & the other foie gras farms. Please read this investigation report: A few more undercover video that shows the TRUTH of the industry that is cruel:, Yea, those are just like the conditions that the birds live in that is on the video on Hudson Valley’s website, isn’t it?

Force feeding an animal is cruel. There is no doubt about it. Everything else about the production of foie gras is the icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Bourdain says that those of us who protest animal torture are “twisted, angry people.” Silly goose, Anthony! Look in the mirror. Who is it who has been twisted by greed, gluttony, and an uncanny capacity for rationalization? One might almost think you had been force-fed. Come on, now. You know it, we know it, and our feathered friends know it. If you had an honest bone in your head you'd be choking on your foie gras. -- Brit Ray, Human Being