Readers React

Foie gras geese don't act like they're tortured

To the editor: Vacationing in France and curious to see just how fois gras geese are "force-fed," I once visited a farm near Toulouse. ("Torture for foie gras?," Readers React, Jan. 9)

As I drove up, I could see the geese wandering about in spacious, grassy pens. Inviting me in to watch, the farmer called the geese into the barn where he waited next to a grain-filled tank equipped with a funnel. Forming a line, each goose stepped up, opened its bill and waited while the farmer released a quarter-cup of grain down its throat. Then it waddled back outside, unhurt.

Were these geese "tortured" by having food dropped down their throats? No. Would these birds have eaten less if the farmer hadn't trained them to come for feedings? Perhaps.

But if you accept the premise that they are domestic animals raised for food, their lives, compared with the horrific conditions under which American supermarket-bound chickens are raised, were as natural as a farm animal can expect.

Anne Z. Cooke, Venice

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