Paris 2024 Olympics to serve foie gras, banned in many countries

Paris 2024 Olympics to serve foie gras, banned in many countries
A duck is being force-fed by a farmer for foie gras, Castelnau-Tursan, France, credit: Reuters/Stephane Mahe

During the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games, foie gras, considered a French delicacy, will be on the menu. Foie gras consists of the fattened liver of a duck or goose.

The production of foie gras involves a practice known as gavage, where ducks or geese are force-fed to enlarge their livers. 

During this process, food is forcibly delivered into the animals’ stomachs using a tube, leading them to consume more food than they would naturally, either in the wild or in domestic settings. The feed, typically corn boiled with fat, leads to significant fat buildup in the liver.

This force-feeding method, viewed as cruel by many, has led several countries to ban foie gras due to animal welfare concerns. Among these are India, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, and Turkey.

Despite these international bans, France continues to produce and consume foie gras, with the Paris Olympics organizers choosing to feature this dish on its menu.

Foie gras cruelty-free alternatives

The foie gras menu announcement comes following efforts by the Paris 2024 organizers to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility. The choice to include foie gras contrasts with these goals, given the ethical debates surrounding its production. 

Notably, in 2021, the mayor of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian, banned foie gras at official events to protest animal cruelty.

In response to these animal cruelty concerns, alternatives to traditional foie gras are emerging in France. Notable examples include Michelin-starred French chef Alexis Gauthier’s vegan foie gras, made from mushrooms and walnuts. And the French company Gourmey raised $10 million to develop foie gras from cultured duck cells in a laboratory.

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