Foie gras: your views

Wondering what other Food24 readers think of foie gras? Well, we asked you for your opinion last week and you told us. Read the top 10 responses here.

by: Food24 readers | 08 Nov 2006

I want to thank you for raising this important topic. The foie gras debate raised some important issues. I became a vegetarian when I was 14 after seeing a documentary on the treatment of many of the animals bred for human consumption. I was shocked. That was 10 years ago. Nowadays when ever I eat out with other people the question inevitably gets raised: "But why are you a vegetarian?" The interesting thing is the response of people when I tell them. They try to convince me otherwise or blatantly ridicule my reasoning. Funnily enough, I have no doubt that if my reasons were health conscious ones I would be considered trendy. However, because my reasons (not me personally) serve to confront the hearer themselves, people seem offended by my choice, even though I see it as a personal conviction and not one I impose on anyone else.

Therefore it was greatly encouraging to me to read your column which served to challenge readers in a journalistically fair manner. Well done!

As for foie gras itself ... well I'm not sure I should even get started on that! APPALLING! Utterly inexcusable.

I understand that we live in a meat loving nation, however, there are steps that every one of us can take to reduce cruelty to the animals we eat. Obviously one would be to speak out against foie gras, another would be to only buy free range eggs. Chicken batteries are one of the cruellest practices in the industry, 4 or 5 chickens squashed into a wire cage the size of a microwave. Necks raw from stretching out the wire to eat. No place to nest, just wire for floors, wall and ceiling, for an entire life time. For R2 more I don’t think any of us can justify not buying free range, which incidentally are bigger, yellower and healthier for you!

Why is it that meat eaters would have a problem with foie gras? Why is it that they don't have a problem with a cow being electrocuted to death and then having its throat slit and hung upside down by its leg until all the blood has run out of its limp body? Do they think of this when they are driving past a field and see cows grazing? Do they think, yum yum, there's a juicy tender fillet steak? I THINK NOT!

Crispy bacon on a Saturday morning ... the smell as it sizzles in the pan. There is another smell that comes before that. The smell of the uric acid that the pig secretes through its skin before it is jolted with electricity, has its throat slit and still wriggles around afterwards. This is the smell of terror. Not only can you smell their fear, but you can see the panic in their eyes before they are guided in procession to their "shocking end"

I may sound like a crazy animal activist. I'm not, I'm just a realist. Being brought up as a vegetarian in a normal home, I was given a really hard time for being "different". For my entire life, people kept telling me "you don't know what you are missing".

As an adult I decided to start at the beginning of the process and I made it my business to find out what I was missing. I didn't get further than a visit to the abattoir.

Spare a thought for the animals you eat on a daily basis, then maybe progress onto more serious issues like the torture of ducks and calves! Maybe a visit to the abattoir is just what people need.

I'm sick and tired of all this bull about foie gras, nobody is forced to eat it? As for animal abuse, one should look more into other industries like poultry and beef. These activists have nothing else to do but to bother us; why not invite them to play golf somewhere and hopefully we won't be hearing from them again.

From Robert in the food industry since 1978 and really pissed off with all this nonsense about foie gras or not foie gras.

I definitely bury my head in the sand. I will not eat foie gras or veal or anything I "know" involves inhuman treatment of the animal. However, I do I also know that if I have to go to an abattoir I will never eat meat again! I can't even kill bugs or spiders!

Even the most intelligent, caring people are capable of sticking their heads in the sand when it comes to pleasure. It's not hard to justify eating veal, force-feeding geese, eating battery eggs or hens, smoking, drinking, eating junk food ... if you know how to make a good argument and refuse to actually use that brain to think about what you're doing. I choose not to eat meat – most of the time, but I do stick my head in the sand when it comes to feeding other people. Hey, I like to cook and didn't God put animals on this earth so that we could use and abuse them to our hearts content!


Perhaps we should revert to calling beef 'cow'; pork 'pig'; chicken 'hen'; and veal 'tortured, malnourished, mother-deprived calf'.

I’m glad you raised this issue. It's given me a well-timed kick in the butt. Thanks.

Once a bunny-hugger...

I have always said I will never touch foie gras until I tasted it and was hooked on it! Having read your article has once again reminded me of the cruelty of this practice and all I can say is that as long as it is bought, it will be produced. One simply has to stand firm and eat alternatives

I am one of those individuals who is very concerned about where my food comes from, and how it was treated while growing. I do not eat meat or dairy, but even if I were still a carnivore, I would not eat foie gras, not under any circumstances – when you consider the incredible variety of animal flesh available for human consumption, and there are more humane choices of meat too from animals that have at least been treated reasonably well in life, surely it is not necessary for us to have as an option this unnaturally manipulated meat, as with veal, created for people who care only about their taste buds, for a few brief moments of pleasure. There is an element of depravity to this kind of dining choice, and to the establishment catering to this kind of whim. I boycott 100% any restaurant with foie gras or veal on their menu – in fact, I simply prefer vegetarian eating places.

We as consumers don't have the answers to the problem, nor the solutions.

But whenever I go into the local supermarket I have observed that the so-called "Free range" product sell better.

Why? I'd like to believe that these labels are true and correct; buying this product gives me a sense of humanity.

Truth be known it could just as well be a clever marketing ploy yet I want to believe it's not.

If I the consumer know about ill-treatment then I won't support that practice with my hard earned cash.

In the same vain I have stopped buying my Chinese Take-aways from a local restaurant since the day I saw "Sharkfin soup" on the menu.

My chain of thought is if I don't support these practices and everyone else joins in then soon there won't be a demand for such products and the practice should stop. In reality this doesn't happen because no-one cares about the next person, we have become too selfish and self-centred to realise that we are part of a global community.

First of all I think foie gras is very over priced, think about it you are paying about R200 for 100g of an over sizes liver of a goose or duck. As for the humanity of it, after reading this article I think it should be stopped as these are animals that are being fed out of it natural being. Even though it is a delicacy used for centuries by many well know chefs in Europe, but then the awareness was not as great.

So yes stop the force feeding of animals.

I don't even know what foie gras is ... never tasted it but probably never will ... I love my meat and cannot go without it. I have seen how they slaughter animals and it is absolutely gross! But I still eat meat. In that sense I don't think it is fair to mistreat any animal in order to have a delicacy, normal meat is not a delicacy, it is a necessity.

Read more comments here.

- Food24


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