Ducks and Geese

Israel and the State of Foie Gras

Worker force feeding a duck
Photo By: Peta
“This is the first time the Knesset [the Israeli legislature] has decided that an entire sector of agriculture is illegal. If we don't stop the animal-rights groups, tomorrow you won't be able to milk cows or keep chickens in coops.”
– Agriculture Ministry Director-General Yossy Ishay

On January 3, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Knesset Education Committee, in Israel, refused to extend a grace period for force-feeding geese in the production of foie gras, despite a request from the Agriculture Ministry to extend current regulations until the end of March. The 70 foie gras producers in Israel had until the end of January, when the regulations expired, to continue to force-feed geese with long metal tubes that violently and harmfully compress enormous quantities of food into the goose's stomach. "The time has come to put an end to the drawn-out period of many years during which the geese have suffered," said Knesset Education Committee chairwoman Meli Polishook-Bloch.

Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry says it is working on technology that uses shorter, silicon feeding tubes and shorter feeding periods that comply with animal-cruelty regulations. However, the ministry doesn't say whether the enlargement of the goose's liver to 10 times its original size will continue under the new technology, or whether the inhumane amount of food forced down the goose's throat prior to the bird's being slaughtered for foie gras will be reduced.

In 2003, the Israeli High Court ruled that the regulations allowing the force-feeding of geese and ducks, as then practiced in Israel, violated the Israeli Animal Protection Act. (In Israel, geese are mostly used to produce foie gras; in the US, ducks are used.) On September 29, 2004, a bill to ban the force-feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras in California, as well as the sale of foie gras in California, was signed into law. California and New York are the only US states that produce foie gras. The California law becomes effective in July 2012.

What Can I Do?
  • Order Delicacy of Despair. Produced by (, this 16-minute investigation and rescue takes you behind the closed doors of the foie gras industry and shows what ducks and geese endure to produce "fatty liver." VHS format is available from United Poultry Concerns. $10 (includes shipping). Watch on YouTube.