These Spanish Farmers Learned How to Make Foie Gras Humanely

Staff Writer
This Spanish farm has mastered the art of making foie gras without force-feeding, by studying natural geese behaviors
Force-feeding geese to make the extra-fatty liver known as foie gras is illegal in 20 countries.

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Force-feeding geese to make the extra-fatty liver known as foie gras is illegal in 20 countries.

Foie gras is one of the most controversial foods on earth because the extra-fatty goose liver gets its rich taste from the animal being force-fed with tubes and pumps through a process called gavage. The method has been called deplorable and inhumane, and has been banned in many countries. But one farm in Spain found a way of creating foie gras without resorting to these cruel measures.

The foie gras made by Eduardo Sousa and Diego Labourdette uses wild geese that naturally land in Spain once a year to stuff themselves with acorns, figs, and olives, a natural fattening-up that has the entire Spanish culinary community buzzing, according to NPR.

Their farm only slaughters once a year, after the geese have finished their feast, usually the first week in October. Their foie gras may be less plentiful than that of a commercial goose-breeding farm, but it’s far more humane.

"We paralyze them with flashlights. They become hypnotized, when they're confronted with such bright light at night," Sousa told NPR.  "It's an ancient practice. Hunters here use the same tactic. The birds seem like they're asleep. Then we sacrifice them with a knife. It happens very quickly, and they don't suffer."

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