Not so many small farmers fatten ducks these days, so I was rather pleased (relieved) to find these few on sale yesterday at my nearby small town's weekly market. It's a dying tradition.
I am well aware that many people are against the practice, and that some countries either ban the production of such birds, or have banned the importation of their livers.
Those who are 'anti' claim the process to be cruel. Those who are 'pro' claim that they are simply replicating nature. Personally I have never seen any cruelty in the force feeding of birds, just a very quick (3 seconds) injection of food that the ducks actually seem to enjoy. The birds never show any signs of stress or discomfort, and they are far too valuable to be mistreated.
I make no apologies in saying that yes, I do buy foie gras every year. I place a walnut sized lump in the centre of my annual production of paté, much the same as every other person in the area who produces their own charcuterie.
Some practises are not perfect, but I genuinely believe that producers of foie gras do their utmost to make sure that their birds live a good life, and my paté without that little central jewel just wouldn't be the same.
One thing is certainly true, birds that are bred for the production of foie gras are far more pampered and cosseted that most chickens that end up on your Sunday table; even the free range bio ones.