If the price of foie gras has dipped below that of beef fillet (Caterer, 14 September, page 8), then that is partly due to intensification of an already inhumane farming method.
Whatever the financial costs involved in eating beef or foie gras, it's important to remember that it is possible for beef cattle to live natural lives if raised and slaughtered humanely. That's certainly not the case for the birds involved in foie gras production, who suffer horribly.
The majority of foie gras comes from ducks in France who spend the last few weeks of their life crammed into individual cages with just their necks sticking out, unable to move, stretch or flap their wings. They are force-fed by pneumatic feeding tubes that shove 450g of food down their throats in three seconds. After a few weeks the ducks' livers grow to up to 10 times their natural size.
Although Britain has banned the production of foie gras, it still allows its import. It is up to consumers to outlaw this most brutal of farming practices by refusing to buy the stuff and protesting to shops and restaurants that supply it.
Campaigns director, World Society for the Protection of Animals, London
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