Activist Speaks Out Against Foie Gras

‘This goes so far over the line’ — @AnimalOutlook executive director Cheryl Leahy is taking a stand against foie gras and those trying to prevent it from being banned (warning: distressing images) This video "Activist Speaks Out Against Foie Gras", first appeared on

Video Transcript

CHERYL LEAHY: As far as I'm concerned this is a very lopsided debate. On the one hand, you have unequivocally clear animal cruelty to millions of animals for the production of this sort of frivolous luxury product. On the other side of the debate, you have people who simply don't want to be told what to do. And they cannot be the gatekeepers of what is right and wrong.


- My point here is to show you the behavior, especially the lack of avoidance, of the ducks.

CHERYL LEAHY: Foie gras is a French term for fatty liver. And the idea is to force feed these animals over a period of time to transform the liver into this fatty, waxy product, ultimately, that is sold as a luxury product. You cannot make it in any other way.

In fact, there are studies showing that if you were to avoid the force feeding process, you'd have to add fat. Essentially, it doesn't become foie gras, right? You're inducing a disease state in the animal that's called hepatic lipidosis in order to do this.


The liver function is damaged by force feeding, which causes substances to build up in the blood that can reach the brain, meaning foie gras ducks are often suffering things like impaired brain function, cranial, pressure, even ruptured esophagus and livers. There have been necropsies on these birds showing food spilling out of their mouths and esophagus. And even birds who died during the force feeding process.

We have animal cruelty laws for a reason in every state. Most people really do care about animals and they do not want them to be mistreated. And this goes so far over the line.


Chicago actually had a ban in place, which was ultimately repealed. And this was as a result of a very concerted effort by the foie gras industry to-- frankly, to muddy the waters about what's happening to these animals and why that's important. California's ban was passed in 2012. And there was a lot of back and forth, appeals, and court battles over whether this ban could stand. And ultimately, in 2020, there was a ruling that upheld the ban.

We have New York City's ban coming into effect in 2022. Now, of course, that's going to be a much bigger battle, exactly because that's where the industry is housed. There's a reason that 16 countries, California, and New York City have bans. And now it's time to end the production here at home altogether.