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Pâté de foie gras is considered by many as a culinary delight but the National Council of SPCA’s (NSPCA) views it as a product of extreme animal cruelty.
Foie gras is French for “fat liver,” and this pâté is made from the livers of specially fattened geese or duck. These birds are force-fed and exposed to tremendous suffering during this unnatural process, which involves pushing a long pipe down the birds’ throats and forcing an unnatural quantity of food directly into their crops. Their livers swell to the point where they become diseased, and the birds can barely walk or breathe.
This appalling practice is widely condemned around the world and is prohibited in much of Europe including the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Italy and Poland, as well as Argentina, Israel and in the U.S. state of California.
The NSPCA works vigorously to stop this practice from becoming established in South Africa.
Following admissions of guilt in the Lichtenburg Magistrates Court, Mr and Mrs Diedericks, their daughter Tharina Berriman and her husband Terrence Brerriman were fined R10 000.00 each.
Charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act had been laid against them by the National Council of SPCAs who had raided their Bon Canard Farm on 15 March 2012 where ducks were being force-fed to produce pâté de foie gras.
“There is a shocking and cruel reality to the production of this so-called delicacy. There is no way to produce it humanely,” explained Senior Inspector Grace de Lange of the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit.
The team from the Farm Animal Protection Unit obtained a warrant to enter the Bon Canard Farm and during the raid, 107 Muscovy ducks were confiscated. They were being kept in small plastic and wire cages. They were unable to move and were being force-fed in order to enlarge their livers to produce pâté for restaurants.
Some birds were injured. Many had swollen, hardened feet: – a result of standing incessantly on the cage floors. Due to the conditions in which they were being kept, many had breathing problems.
The farm has closed.
The NSPCA is pleased to advise that to the very best of our knowledge, this cruel foodstuff is no longer produced in our country.
Production of pâté de foie gras has been banned in many European countries as well as in Israel. California and the city of Chicago also outlawed the production of this food. In Britain and South Africa, the involvement of force feeding renders the production of this pâté in contravention of legislation pertaining to animal welfare.
“This is a victory,” explained Grace de Lange. “Yet we must never lose sight of the fact that certain foods are inherently cruel in their manner of production. Report any leads regarding undercover production – and above all, as consumers make your voices – and menu preferences – known”.