As part of any investigation, I ask people to back up what they say. During our interview about ducks being force fed to produce the gourmet delicacy foie gras, Chef Dan Scherotter from Palio d'Asti repeated something you hear frequently from the foie gras industry -- that ducks don't mind being force-fed. They actually walk to the worker to be fed. Here's video of Chef Dan's comment:
Chef Dan Scherotter, Palio d'Asti: "The last 2-3 weeks are uncomfortable, I think the first couple days what I've seen, but then the ducks are going to the feeders, so they don't really care so much."
Dan: Really? The ducks actually go to the feeder? You've seen that."
"I've seen it."
Scherotter claimed he's seen the video -- something I haven't seen in all those reports I did, starting eight years ago, including a tour inside Sonoma Foie Gras. Three times a day for the final three weeks of their lives, a worker grabs each duck, shoves a 10-inch metal pole down its throat, and an air pump sends a pound of corn into the bird. During the process, the liver swells to more than ten times its normal size. Many of the ducks I've seen become lethargic, some suffer perforations to their necks, others can't walk. In our original reports in 2003, we showed the activists' video of rats eating ducks alive -- the birds couldn't move or defend themselves.
So, Dan Scherotter never provided the video of the duck walking toward a worker to be fed. Here's part of our email exchange:
From Dan Noyes
To Chef Dan Scherotter
January 30, 2012
Thanks again for the interview, Chef. The story airs this Thursday at 6. Please direct me to any video of ducks coming toward a worker to be speed fed. I'd really like to see it.
From Chef Dan Scherotter
To Dan Noyes
January 31, 2012
Thanks Dan, if I find some free time, I'll look for it. Then again, I could also show you a hotdog eating contest.
Scherotter finally referred me to a video produced by Hudson Valley Foie Gras of New York, the only other foie gras producer in the country:
The company invites you to visit any time. It would be interesting if they produced a video showing the last three weeks of a duck's life while being force fed, day-by-day.
Volunteers from the Animal Rescue & Protection League also went undercover at Hudson Valley recently, and here's their new video which includes some of those pictures:
Bottom line, I've never seen a duck -- in person at Sonoma Foie Gras or on any video -- wanting to be force-fed.
I'll be back to update when the law banning foie gras takes effect July 1st.
*** Update 12:22pm 2-3-12: Comments are now working on this post. Thanks, Dan ***