A writer of July 6 tells us that foie gras production is not cruel [Letters, "In Defense of Foie Gras" by Aaron Samuels].
Nedim C. Buyukmihci, professor emeritus of veterinary medicine, University of California at Davis, Dilley, Texas, with 30 years experience, writes as follows in Fortune International, May 16, 2005, "Coup de Gras":
"As a veterinarian with 30 years' experience, I can answer the question you raise in 'A Wild Goose Chase' (Business Life, May 2)--Does foie gras amount to cruel and unusual punishment--with an absolute yes.
"The birds do suffer during the feeding process. A stomach tube is rapidly forced through the esophagus into the stomach, sometimes leading to injury, and the huge amount of food being forced into the stomach causes harm in and of itself. Not only does the liver become enlarged, it also malfunctions, so the birds are chronically ill. The ducks are kept in crowded conditions and their bills, which are rich in nerve endings, are removed with scissors, which causes acute and chronic pain and prevents normal feeding and preening.
"When you consider what these birds must endure--and the many food choices available--it seems that promoting foie gras reflects human indulgence at its worst." (Professor Buyukmihci wrote to Mayor Daley on the matter.)
Force-feeding, whether done to animals or humans, is barbaric. It harmed the British suffragettes when it was done to them by the British authorities. As the stomachs of some of the birds explode, what does that lead to?
Rita E. Bell