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Archive for the ‘Cows, Chickens, Farm Animals’ Category

geese These days there are more and more people becoming vocal about their food, what they eat, where their food comes from, etc.  Haven’t you heard the term “ignorance is bliss?”  When it comes to this subject of food, I sometimes wish I didn’t know as much as I do.  On the flip side, I hope, the more I know the better off I will be in the long run, if I use that information properly.  Case in point……

I am from New Orleans and always loved French food.  I recently visited a French Restaurant and their “specialty” is Foie Gras.  I asked a lot of questions about this food because I really did not know all of the details.  Once I was informed I came home, did some research, and thought, “This is something I would like to write about.” Do you sometimes eat food because it is called a delicacy or because it’s expensive?  Do you know what you are really eating or where it came from?  Do you care?

Translated literally from French as “fatty liver” and pronounced ‘fwah grah’.  It is made from the grotesquely enlarged livers of male ducks and geese that are also diseased livers.  When you think about it, who would want to eat a diseased liver anyway?   At just a few months old, ducks are confined inside dark sheds and force-fed enormous amounts of food several times a day.  The ducks and geese are held, one-by-one, and a metal pipe is forced down their throats so the food is force fed directly into their bodies.  This happens to them every 3-4 hours everyday.  The pipes puncture many birds’ throats, sometimes causing the animals to bleed to death.  Many become so sick they die.  In a matter of weeks these animals are extremely overweight and their livers are 10 times the size they should be.  The birds who survive the force-feeding are killed, and their livers are sold for foie gras.  Although widely condemned, it’s also widely consumed, not only in the heartland of France, where they LOVE this food, but in many other countries too.  Here is a video for you to see.

Banning any food, especially “luxury” food, has been a challenging issue for chefs, who generally defend their right to use whatever they want.  It usually has to do with the demand and price these items command. These are not the only animals that are treated in such harsh ways.  There are many issues around the treatment of all kinds of animals.

There are also a number of well known people who are doing their part to bring these types of subjects to the general population.  One such person, who is also a well known chef, is Wolfgang Puck.  As part of a new initiative to fight animal cruelty, Puck said he will no longer serve foie gras. In his fine-dining restaurants, eateries and catering venues he will use only eggs from hens that have lived cage-free; veal from roaming calves; and lobsters that have been removed from their ocean traps quickly to avoid crowded holding tanks.   “We want a better standard for living creatures. It’s as simple as that,” Puck said.  He believes the best-tasting food comes from animals that have been treated humanely. RogerThe campaign to stop its sale is gathering growing more and more support.

Even people like Roger Moore (A.K.A. James Bond) and Bea Arthur are opposed of the treatment of the ducks and geese, as well as the industry as a whole for allowing the sale of foie gras.   See the video from Roger Moore.

Many chefs at high-end restaurants, some smaller food-service chains and grocery chains like Whole Foods have refused to buy meat and eggs unless animals were raised under certain conditions.  They also are aware that Americans are becoming more health conscious about what they eat. In 2000, McDonald’s became the first major American food company to impose minimum animal-welfare standards such as increasing cage size on its egg producers. California has decided to ban the production and sale of foie gras starting in 2012.  Chicago imposed a ban last year, and bans are being promoted in Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

To stop this act people will need to stop consuming this food and ask chefs to stop serving the dish. If  you have thoughts, stories, information, etc.  please share it so other people will know your thoughts.  This is what I found in my search for the real answers behind the question, “What is Foie Gras?”  What do you have to say?

cougar 1 Do you and your kids like wild animals?  There are places all around the country where you can volunteer and be around lions, tigers, bears and the list goes on.   If you don’t want to volunteer then have a fun day visiting these animals.  Most of these rescues survive by having volunteers help with the day to day care of the animals as well as donations from visitors.  The economy has hit all of the sanctuaries and rescues hard.  They don’t have any option but to feed and care for these animals every single day, regardless of the circumstances.  They barter for food and medical care as well.

pig Many of these organizations have petting areas where you can actually pet animals you would only see in the wild.  It is really sad when you hear the stories about these animals and where they come from.  If it were not for these rescues and sanctuaries these animals would not be alive.

I recently visited two organizations in Florida.  One is called, “Lions, Tigers and Bears”  and they are located in Arcadia.  Click here for their link. The other rescue I visited is called, “The Big Cat Habitat”.  They are located in Sarasota.  Click here for their link.

Both of these sanctuaries have very similar stories about their animals.  Many were bought by people thinking that having a wild animal as a pet was a good, and different, idea.  Most of the owners got their animals when they were very young and cute.  Once the animals got larger they were harder to care for, cost a lot to keep, and began to hurt their owners.  The animals were not intentionally aggressive, they just got big and the “cute nip on the hand” became a HARD bite.  Wild animals are still wild and have certain instincts.  Animals are very much like humans as well.  If they are not disciplined and coached properly when they are young, they will do the same things when they become adults.  Some people think that some behaviors are cute when they have a small child or animal.  Once they grow up it’s not cute anymore and they get scolded, or worse, for the behavior.  Unfortunately, they don’t know why they are scolded when it was ok a year ago.  Now it’s completely unacceptable.  MIXED MESSAGES!!

The circus, economy and other circumstances, are reasons these sanctuaries and rescues get animals.  Yesterday I heard that one man has 12 wild animals he was keeping at his home.   He can no longer afford to feed them and if someone doesn’t come and get them he will have to put them down.  He said he got them when they were very young and cute.  Now he sees how much they eat everyday and he can’t afford to keep them.  They are also getting too hard for him to manage.  There are a lot of circus and show animals that would not survive if it were not for these organizations.  Once the animals get too old to work they can’t use them anymore.  The circus can’t afford to keep them so they either find someone to take them or put them down.  It is heart wrenching to think these animals give their lives to entertain us then when they want to “retire”, like we do, it’s usually the end of the road for them.

Many of the animals these days are inbred as well.  When that happens these animals tend to have a lot of health issues.  You might see animals who have crossed eyes, pigeon toed, or just seem kind of “weird”.  Most of them have been inbred.

I am not the expert but I do know that I want to help as many animals as possible, live good lives.  If you like animals and want your children to be exposed to animals only seen in the wild, contact your local sanctuary or rescue.  It’s the experience of a lifetime.  They will learn about the animals, responsibility and meet some very interesting people in the process.

We would like you to share your experiences, pictures and stories with us.  Send us an email, make a “comment” or post about a special animal under “Animals Remembered”.