LUSH Cosmetics, in collaboration with the Stop Gavage Association, launches an impressive campaign for the protection of ducks and geese, in a move against an extended force-feeding period, and the death and suffering caused.
Every year, over 35 million birds (ducks and geese) are force-fed to produce foie gras. Over 90 million ducklings and 700,000 goslings per year are bred purely for foie gras production.
The ducklings or goslings are born in a hatchery, where the eggs are placed on trolleys in large incubation cabinets.
Only male ducks are force-fed, the use of females is prohibited as their livers are too veined. The chicks are sorted by sex as soon as the leave the egg.
There are two techniques for identifying the sex: auto-sexing (for some strains, genetic selection helps differentiate male and female by a black spot on the head of animals), or by turning the cloaca. Female mulard ducklings are usually eliminated (by grinding) after birth.
What is force feeding?
Force-feeding (gavage) involves administering large quantities of unbalanced and high-calorie feed down the birds' throats using a tube which is forced down the oesophagus to the stomach. Farmers hold them by the neck, and, using a long tube thrust down the throat of the animal, corn is injected directly from the pump to their stomach. Many ducks suffer injuries to the throat as a result of this cruel act.
Force-feeding is a violation of the regulations and most basic principles of animal welfare. Force-feeding has been banned, on the grounds of cruelty, in most countries within the European Union, and more recently in Israel and California. LUSH is launching this campaign because animal welfare is our primary ethical concern and we want to educate the public to act.
What does the law say?
Force-feeding is a violation of French and European regulations on the protection of farmed animals and ultimately a permanent ban is inevitable. However, current economic interests mean that legislation is slow to appear. Here are some examples of this:
"Animals must be fed a wholesome diet which is appropriate to their age and species."
(Ministerial Decree of 30 March 2000)
"No animal shall be provided with food or liquid in a manner (…) which may cause unnecessary suffering or injury."
(European Council Directive [A1] of 20 July 1998 on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes)
"Methods of feeding and feed additives which cause distress, injury or disease to the ducks [and geese] or may result in development of physical or physiological conditions detrimental to their health and welfare shall not be permitted."
(European Recommendations of 22 June 1999 concerning ducks and geese used for the production of foie gras)
"Foie gras is the pathological liver of a bird suffering from hepatic steatosis." (European Commission Scientific Report)
Force-feeding is a violation of the regulations and the most basic principles of animal welfare. Force-feeding has already been banned, on the grounds of cruelty, in most countries within the European Union, and more recently in Israel and California. LUSH is launching this campaign because animal welfare is our primary ethical concern and we want to educate the public to act.[A2]