As well as being unethical and unprogressive, foie gras consumption is, frankly, rather odd. Foie gras, which translates as "fatty liver", is essentially diseased liver: when a duck or goose is force-fed, it develops steatosis of the liver. This means that, as it inflates to 10 times its normal size and fat globules form within its cells, the animal's liver degenerates. What a delicacy indeed. "How about a slice of sick duck?" Err, mind if I don't.The arguments are always the same. "But it's a cultural tradition" – well, if we continue to do wrong on the basis that we've being doing wrong a long time, I fear for the progress of our civilisation. "But it tastes so nice" – so nice that our ten minutes of pleasure are worth putting a sentient creature through months of absolute hell? If so, we'd better hope never to find ourselves at the mercy of someone with our standards of compassion or morality.
2. If you must, make that turkey an organic one.
The vast majority of the turkeys that will end up on people's plates at Christmas will have come from factory farms. They will have been raised in filthy sheds containing tens of thousands of birds (an ideal breeding ground for disease – remember the H5N1 outbreak at Bernard Matthews' a few years ago?) and never seen the light of day. They will have had part of their beaks and toes amputated (without any form of anesthesia or analgesia) so that they didn't hurt or kill each other in these stressful overcrowded conditions. They will have suffered from lameness due to intense genetic selection for fast growth and unnatural body weights. And they will have been slaughtered around 12 -26 weeks of age (contrasting with the 10-year natural lifespan of a healthy turkey).