As a wildlife biologist, allow me to refute the outrageous statement by chef John Carlos Kuramoto (“Challenging the forbidden food,” July 25) that ducks “force-feed themselves.”
Wild ducks eat frequent small meals to prepare for migration, they never gorge. Moreover, mallards, the ducks who are commonly raised for foie gras, are not even migratory! These birds are not designed to metabolize fat at a high rate, as evidenced by how quickly it metabolizes in the liver, thus causing force-fed birds to quickly develop life-threatening diseases, including obesity and fatty liver disease (that’s what foie gras is — a disease). Force-feeding is also linked to gastrointestinal diseases and blockages, spleen and blood disorders, and respiratory illnesses. Birds killed for foie gras are only a few months old, yet up to 20 percent of them still die before they can be slaughtered.
Poultry experts all over the world have condemned force-feeding. The only people defending it are those who produce, sell, cook and eat foie gras. They are not scientists, they are gourmands. Asking them about bird biology and behavior is rather like consulting Paula Deen about your heart condition.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals