Letter to the editor

Foie gras—the despicable ‘delicacy’

By STAR HESSE
Posted 11/30/21

As I read the four full-page propaganda pieces, proudly lauding Sullivan County’s foie gras facilities, I shook my head in disgusted disbelief.  Two of the three agro-business factory …

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Letter to the editor

Foie gras—the despicable ‘delicacy’

Posted

As I read the four full-page propaganda pieces, proudly lauding Sullivan County’s foie gras facilities, I shook my head in disgusted disbelief.  Two of the three agro-business factory farms in the whole United States, whose production methods have been described as the most systematic execution of sanctioned animal abuse in world history, are operating in Sullivan County.

For decades, both Hudson Valley Foie Gras and La Belle (really?) Farms have insisted that they take good care of their animals and vehemently denied there is any animal abuse connected with their products. Meanwhile, they continue utilizing production methods so horrific that they have been condemned and banned in most of the civilized world. Those who profit from foie gras speak of how well their ducks are treated with humane force-feeding that does not hurt them.

For centuries, force-feeding has been used almost exclusively as punishment and torture. There is nothing gentle or healthy about this practice. From the age of five weeks, baby ducks begin a force-feeding regimen that ratchets up to pumping the human equivalent of 27 pounds of spaghetti a day down a restrained duck’s gullet. By the end of the 10-week program, the ducks’ livers have been grotesquely swollen to 10 times their normal size. The ducks are in agony and ready for slaughter.

Why has this barbaric production been allowed to continue? The answer is money. In 2012, HVFG alone was raking in $16 million in sales to their gluttonous, gourmand clientele. Sullivan County political leaders turn a blind eye to the animal agony because they don’t want to lose the spoils from killing these golden geese.

They wring their hands about the jobs that will be lost when, in truth, foie gras profit-mongers seek out economically depressed and desperate areas like Sullivan County to enable their abusive businesses to operate at maximum profit.  

Ironically, at this time the “jobs, jobs, jobs” mantra does not apply to the shutting down of foie gras production, because waiting in the wings to provide as many or more jobs and economic prosperity is the highly profitable hemp production industry, eagerly reaching out to Sullivan County to become its new home base of operation.

The hemp industry will infuse huge sales tax and other income into the county economy, take on and utilize more of the already existing agrarian workforce ready to transition to hemp farming, and restore agricultural prosperity to our farming communities.  

Foie gras production is to the exotic food industry as clubbing baby seals is to the fashion fur trade. Both cause hideous animal suffering to produce frivolous luxury items for the hedonistic, conscienceless few. There is no justification for continuing this obscene commerce. Stop animal and worker abuse. Shut down foie gras, and grab the golden ring of hemp production. It’s there for the taking, and it’s the merciful and right thing to do.  

Star D. Hesse lives in Narrowsburg, NY.

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