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Europe: Goose is cooked for traditional foie gras producers

Ducks have waddled past geese as the source of foie gras, the gourmet pate treat traditionally consumed in France at Christmas, the government reported yesterday.

More than 10,000 tonnes of foie gras - the fat-laden liver from force- fed birds - came from ducks last year compared to about 540 tonnes from geese, the agriculture ministry said.

This year, it added, even more would come from ducks because they grew faster, needed little cage space and could be force-fed by hydraulic or pneumatic machines.

Most of the farms raising geese to produce foie gras use traditional methods, bringing them up in the farmyard and stuffing whole grains down their throats on an individual basis.

Little foie gras is consumed outside France. A few dozen tonnes are exported to Japan, but the United States bans imports on the grounds that the force-feeding process constitutes cruelty to animals.

- Reuters, Paris