Filthy cages, a floor covered in excrement, and the carcasses of dead animals left to rot. Shocking images were released Thursday by animal rights group L214 purporting to show conditions at a duck breeding farm in southwest France where animals are raised for the foie gras industry.
The group says the images were filmed this month following a tip-off from a whistleblower and are among “the worst farm conditions” it has ever seen.
“This breeding farm is the height of horror,” L214 co-founder Sébastien Arsac said on the group’s website.
“The ducks are locked up in collapsing cages, the ground is covered, and I'm sorry I can't think of another word, covered with a thick layer of shit with rotting duck carcasses, maggots. The smell is overwhelming."
Upon releasing the images L214 demanded the immediate closure of the breeding farm and just hours later, France’s Ministry of Agriculture announced the site would be shut down. Local authorities are set to launch an investigation.
But the video once again puts the spotlight on animal welfare in France’s foie gras industry.
Though considered a delicacy and a symbol of France’s culinary tradition, foie gras production has faced growing criticism from animal rights groups as it traditionally requires the force-feeding of duck and geese to fatten their livers.
A number of countries across the world have banned its production because of the practice.