03 November 2005

Foie gras and turkeys — cruelty to animals?

I read an article about turkeys in the latest food section of the San Francisco Chronicle that said:

« One hallmark of the heritage turkey is that it mates according to nature, unlike the American Thanksgiving classic, the Broad-Breasted White, which has been bred for white meat and is so top-heavy it can't walk or breed naturally. »
Now a lot of people in the U.S. have been saying that force-feeding ducks and geese to fatten their livers and produce the famous delicacy called foie gras is cruel to the birds. I ask you, which is crueler? Turkeys that can't even walk because they are so deformed by selective breeding? Or ducks and geese that are force-fed? I think it's a close call.

One story about force-feeding is that it mimics a natural process common in migratory birds, which gorge themselves to fatten their livers before they start their long flight south or north. The liver stores the energy they need for the journey.

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