Izzy Yanay manages a farm that is possibly the only of its kind in the United States. Situated in New York State, Hudson Valley Foie Gras is, as the name suggests, completely dedicated to producing foie gras - despite most Americans continuing to give it a wide berth.Despite this, the farm welcomes hundreds of visitors every year: catering professionals, chefs and butchers, as well as curious individuals wanting tolearn more about this French delicacy, which is made from fattened goose or duck liver.
Marcus Henley, the business' vice-president, explained:
In 2004, it became very important for us to open our doors, show people the process and let them make their own opinions about it.
Henley denies any abuse against the farm's ducks, saying that they are not force-fed (a common practice in many foie gras companies) and that they only eat as much as they are comfortable with each day. However, there is still a noticeable distaste for foie gras in the U.S., something that Izzy Yanay, who emigrated from Isreal in 1983, has found difficult to fully overcome, especially at first:
You could have given it away for free, no one would touch it.
People's repulsion for foie gras is sometimes made into a political issue. California and Chicago, Illinois, have banned it from being produced or sold within their borders. Other territories have proposed similar laws, but none have been adopted as of yet.Hudson Valley Foie Gras, for obvious reasons, has found itself the target of animal rights activists and welfare agents alike, something that French companies don't escape either. To make foie gras, the liver must be particularly fat, leading to some very controversial methods of feeding the birds.The most infamous is gavage (the french word for force-feeding), which is both traumatic and physically damaging, leaving ducks and geese with compressed organs and dysentery. A tube is forced down their throat (which can also hurt them), then food is forced down it.
At a European level, the law states that "no animal shall be fed or watered in such a way that causes unnecessary suffering or damage". A report from the Scientific Committee of the European Commission on Animal Health and Welfare also concluded that force-feeding was very bad for animal welfare.Today, only five countries in the European Union makes foie gras: Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain and France. Many countries, including Norway and Argentina, have banned it.
The production of foie gras, like many animal products, causes unnecessary suffering to animals for the sake of a tasty meal. You can write to your local representatives to ask them to take steps against the practice, or even consider eating less animal products yourself!
* * *
At Holidog, we aim to improve the lives of your furry friends. Enjoy your holidays with peace of mind, knowing your pet is in great hands (find a petsitter near you) and spoil them with our monthly subscription box filled with yummy treats and toys (they're going to love it!). You can count on us!