portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting portland metro

actions & protests | animal rights

No rest for the wicked: foie gras protest report, 8/9

"Look deep into the eyes of any animal, and then for a moment, trade places, their life becomes as precious as yours and you become as vulnerable as them." - Philip Ochoa
On Saturday August 9, a dozen activists made their way to the restaurant Blue Hour to protest foie gras being served at the establishment.

It was a loud, lively, educational protest. Protesters chanted ("That's not dinner, that's diseased liver," "Force fed, 'til they're dead"), accompanied by fun party horns. Passersby stopped to watch a large screen television showing the horror that geese and ducks go through in the making of foie gras. People stopped for literature, wondering what the protest was all about. Many vowed to never eat foie gras. A couple visiting from France were thrilled to see the protest against foie gras, which they recognized as cruel - in fact, they were thrilled to see a protest of any kind happening in the states, wondering why US citizens don't exercise their right to speech more often.

While this is not a campaign against patrons of the restaurant, many of whom do not go there to order foie gras, several made their pro-foie gras and anti-protester opinions known. One woman going into the restaurant attempted to slap a female protester after being handed a flier, and quickly scurried away when other protesters immediately gathered around and let her know that was not acceptable. An older man bragged about how much money he has, how much he likes foie gras, and some crude things he'd like to do to protesters. It's no wonder that the kind of person who supports such a cruel and violent product would express violence in their lives. But it's all good - the more drama, the more passersby wonder what the fuss is about, and stop to get literature. And it's never a boring evening for protesters! We stay positive and educational and let the ignorant and violent speak for themselves.

Why do activists care so much for this issue that they are willing to sacrifice their time and vocal chords every weekend to protest? As we live our day to day lives in relative comfort, it's easy for even those of us who know the process of producing foie gras to forget just how much intense suffering goes into this needless "delicacy."

An investigation at what is now Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York showed workers force feeding 500 birds three times per day. One duck had a wound in his neck that was so severe that water came out of it when he drank (ducks are force fed using a metal pipe shoved down their throats which can wound and puncture it). Workers carried ducks around by their necks, causing them to "choke and defecate in distress."

A veterinarian who saw the farm noted that, "Many of the ducks...were lame or unable to walk without using their wings for support. Some ducks moved by pushing their bodies along the floor." This veterinarian said, "All of the birds in the force-feeding area had dirty, ragged, incomplete plumage, yet none were attempting to preen. Only severely stressed or ill ducks allow their plumage to deteriorate to [such a] degree....Normal ducks keep their feathers in near-perfect condition."

Additionally, a state wildlife pathologist who examined ducks from the farm was greatly dismayed by the birds' "greatly enlarged livers, the product of overfeeding by force (livers are easily torn by even minor trauma)" and one duck's "laceration of the liver with hemorrhage into the body cavity." He said, "This type of treatment and farming of waterfowl is outside the acceptable norms of agriculture and sane treatment of animals."

Birds raised for foie gras die at rates up to 20 times greater than that of other farmed birds (i.e. die from causes other than being killed for their flesh), and their bodies show wing fractures and severe tissue damage to their throats.
See:  http://www.peta.org/mc/factsheet_display.asp?ID=97
For more info and video see:  http://www.goveg.com/feat/foie

Consider raising your voice at a protest, or picking up the pen or phone to let this establishment know that animal cruelty is not o.k. with you. The animals have only our voices.

Blue Hour
250 NW 13th Ave

Great Report Back 11.Aug.2008 17:13

Jon Doe

I am a Bluehour employee and although I once hated you protesters, I went home and looked up video about the Foie Gras issue and was stunned to see the inherent cruelty involved in its production. The "pro foie gras" paper that management has been handing out to patrons is full of crafted lies aimed at sugar coating the issue. What's great however, is that I really think ownership and management will eventually give in. I will help you however I can in the future. See you next weekend!

Good work 11.Aug.2008 21:25


Thanks for keeping this issue on the front burner and for your excellent report. Although I am an AR activist, this report conveys horror beyond my imagination. I have joined some fois gras demos and plan to turn out for more. Let's get this info around!

As for the above post by the Bluehour employee, thanks for posting here and for doing your own research.