Why do they force-feed geese to produce pate de foie gras?

This week’s Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon by Ruben Bolling, on “The Humane Foie Gras Farm” (http://www.ucomics.com/tomthedancingbug/), got me to thinking: Why do the poultry farmers force-feed geese and ducks and bloat their livers to produce foie gras? Is it just so they can get more ounces of liver out of each bird? Or does the force-feeding improve the flavor somehow?

The force-feeding causes the liver cells to store excess amounts of fat in their cytoplasm; bad for the bird’s health, but it makes the liver taste delicious.

Pate de fois gras is french of “liver of fat goose”, if anyone is interested.

Mmmmmmm … foie gras!

I love it. It may be totally unaccceptable to society (ie, those that haven’t tried it) but my god, it’s yummy!

The cartoon is pretty funny actually…

Actually, it means “paste of fat liver” and can be made from the livers of ducks as well as geese. The French for goose is “oie”.


By the way, what exactly do they mean by “force-feed”? Do they literally stuff food down their throats?

birds are housed in a wing-restricted cage with just their head sticking out. farmers generally use a pneumatic pump. they attach a tube to the pump and stick the other end down the birds throat, in this way they force feed the animal about as third of a kilo or grain and fat in about three seconds. the farmer may do this up to three times a day for about three weeks, or until the birds liver has swelled to approx eight times it’s natural size.

How disturbing.

… and absolutely, heavenly, delicious.

When you’re right, you’re right. Thanks.