Ducks & Geese

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Photo of Tamerlaine resident Leonardo

Meat

Ducks raised for meat are subject to much of the same cruelty that chickens and turkeys are. They are genetically bred to gain weight quickly so that they can be slaughtered prematurely. They are raised in warehouses packed full of other birds. They often have their sensitive and enervated bills trimmed with hot blades to prevent stress-induced behaviors like feather plucking and cannibalizing other birds.

Ducks naturally spend much of their lives on water, and this is essential to their physical and mental livelihood. Ducks raised in factory farms are deprived of pools of water to indulge in and endure serious psychological damage as a result. Further, ducks’ legs are not meant to bear their full weight on hard ground for long periods of time, so many also suffer from lameness. Like other factory farmed birds, ducks and geese are very susceptible to the various diseases and ailments that arises from their filthy and crowded living conditions, and endure injury during transportation.

Ducks are transported in a fashion similar to chickens. They are roughly captured and shoved into small crates, often times injured in the process. They are not fed or watered during transportation and many will not make it to slaughter alive.

Because poultry is excluded from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, ducks are not required to be unconscious prior to slaughter. They are shackled upside down and electrically stunned, though often times this does not render them unconscious. Their throats are slit and they are then dunked into a tank of scalding water to loosen their feathers. Most procedures are more interested in a fast paced assembly than to being precise, so ducks are not always killed by the blade and are dunked into the scalding tank while still alive.

Foie Gras

Foie gras is a French delicacy, made from the force-fattened liver of geese and ducks. Most production takes place in France, however there are several large producers in the United States. Various states, cities, and retailers have banned the production and sales of foie gras due to the cruel nature of its production.

Only males are used for foie gras, so female ducklings are separated and either killed immediately or sent off to a meat producer. The ducks and geese are kept in tiny wire cages, and for a 2 to 3 week period they are force fed twice a day. This is done by violently shoving a pipe down their throats and pumping several pounds of food for 10 to 15 seconds. The pipes damage the mouths of the birds and cause them to gag and vomit. Birds can die of asphyxiation during this process.