PETA Criticizes Dean & Deluca for Animal Cruelty
PETA, the largest animal rights organization in the world whose “Glass Walls” exhibition is currently in place on the Mall, has turned its attention to Georgetown’s Dean & Deluca. The high-end grocery store is one of the few places in D.C. that sells foie gras, which many cherish as a delicacy but which PETA believes is associated with extreme animal cruelty and should be banned across the nation.
According to statements made issued by PETA, the production of foie gras causes great distress to ducks and geese, which are often confined in small cages and force-fed so that their livers grow beyond the average size. PETA states that during their second month of life, birds in foie gras farms are fed foods high in protein and starch, intended to hasten the rate of their growth. Following this period, the birds begin the “gavage” phase, which entails being force-fed up to four pounds of grain and fat each day. This diet causes the birds’ livers to grow 10 times larger than they normally would and drastically increases birds’ mortality rates.
PETA’s investigations of foie gras farms have revealed many tortured animals, including some with holes in their necks from the force-feeding tubes. In New York, a PETA investigation uncovered numerous ducks crammed into under-sized cages, their beaks bleeding from the wired cages and their wings twisted and broken from the overcrowding. According to PETA, the animal abuse associated with producing foie gras is so extreme that the product is prohibited in 15 counties.
In an effort to rally against Dean & Deluca, PETA is urging its supporters to write letters to Dean & Deluca stores around the country, condemning their sale of foie gras. On its website, PETA provides a sample letter for its supporters to send to president of Dean & Deluca, Justin Seamonds, to pressure him to stop selling the delicacy. It reads:
“I was shocked to hear that Dean & Deluca sells foie gras in your U.S. stores, despite the fact that its production is illegal in more than a dozen countries and that your company is fully aware of the extreme suffering inherent in producing it….Please put an end to Dean & DeLuca's complicity in the torture of birds by removing foie gras from your company's shelves immediately.”
PETA has also released a video on its website showcasing the mistreatment of birds on foie gras farms. The video contains footage revealing the conditions in which the birds live and showing farmers placing long feeding tubes down the birds’ throats.
Dean & Deluca has not met with PETA’s demands and does not plan to do so. The general manager of the Georgetown’s Dean & Deluca, Eric Forsythe, believes the store must continue to cater to the many D.C. residents who rely on his store to buy foie gras.
Forsythe also states that the store is committed to “looking for the best quality” foie gras, and receives its product from a variety of different farms depending on its quality.