Both in the news and on the internet, there’ve been a lot of misleading claims made about Foie Gras and its method of production. As people who work on the farms every day, we’d like to set the record straight about how the ducks are raised and handled, educate those looking to find out more accurate information, and clear up some erroneous you may have read.
Misconception: The feeding process is painful to the ducks.
Reality: No, it isn’t. Ducks have unique physiology, much different than humans. They don’t have a gag reflex. Their esophagus is designed to swallow whole, large, and often sharp fish. Our hand-feeding methods are stress-free, non-invasive, and cause no discomfort. We use a short plastic tube to deposit a small amount of wet, natural food in a feeding sac at the base of the duck’s throat. Ducks are never fed more than 9-ounces of grain at a time, which is less than half the capacity of their feeding sac.
Misconception: The livers used to make Foie Gras are diseased.
Reality: This is simply not true. Why would we serve anybody diseased livers? While it’s true in mammals that extra fat in the liver can be a problem, in waterfowl, a fatty liver causes no pain or sickness and is reversible. Ducks are uniquely adapted to store fat in their liver. They do it to save energy reserves for migration and times of scarce food supply, such as winter. A California court decision found that duck livers are not diseased. In addition, our farms regularly pass USDA inspections.
Misconception: Ducks are only raised for their livers.
Reality: That doesn’t make any economic sense. We make sure we use all parts of the duck including meat, feathers, and offal in high-quality duck meat, natural pet food, and other products. Nothing is wasted. We even donate our duck droppings to local farmers that they can use as fertilizer.
Misconception: Ducks are mistreated on the farm.
Reality: A mishandled duck risks getting bruised, which actually lowers the value of its meat. That’s why our employees are incentivized to be gentle with the birds. They are paid bonuses for delivering ducks that provided Grade A meat products. Up until the time of processing, our ducks are treated with the utmost care and compassion. They are housed in open spaces that are routinely cleaned and disinfected. Sick or hurt ducks are not good for business, so we take steps to prevent that from happening.
Misconception: Female duck chicks are killed just weeks after hatching.
Reality: This makes no economic sense. While it’s true female Moulard ducks don’t grow livers as well as males, it doesn’t mean they can’t be used for other meat products or for producing more ducklings. The truth is, our main focus is on Foie Gras production, so we sell a majority of our female ducks to other farms, where they are raised for meat. We do not wastefully kill them.
We are proud of the Foie Gras and other duck meats we produce at our family-run farms, as well as the innovative methods we have developed to raise our fowl in the cleanest, most stress-free environments possible.
Thanks for taking the time to learn the facts behind the production of our Foie Gras.