I long to be empty. I ache with fullness. I can’t take any more. It’s getting harder to move. Harder to breathe. Harder to live. I hunger for hunger itself. This is my story. Please watch. Please listen. Please hear me. I’m not the only one.
This is a story of fullness and hunger. Of too much and too little all at once. What follows is a straight transcription of the spoken narrative of this video. Please watch/listen for the full effect and find additional information including undercover footage of foie gras suppliers in the afterward.
I’ve heard of hunger.
I dream of it.
A gnawing at my core. Starting small and subtle. Easily ignored. Until it grows, becoming ever-more urgent.
A need. A wanting. A gaping chasm demanding fulfillment.
Desire itself embodied.
Hunger. A sensation I know only in theory.
A craving I covet.
I long to be empty.
I hunger for hunger itself.
It’s almost always dark.
I’m trying to rest before the light comes. The light and the fullness that follows.
The fullness that, unlike the light, never leaves.
It’s getting harder to move. Harder to breathe.
Harder to live.
Some of my brothers have given up. I can’t turn to see them. I know only by the absence of their breathing.
Amazing what’s conveyed by a void.
Death is the only emptiness we know.
I try to think back to the brand new time. Before the sound of my own breathing drowned out the world.
Before the lock down.
Have I ever known hunger?
Or was I born full?
Was there a time before the bars and wires? Before I had to listen for my brothers instead of look? Did we ever long for food?
Did we ever feel desire for anything but nothingness?
The light comes. And they come. The Fillers. It’s too soon.
It’s always too soon.
I hear my brother’s heavy exhale as they grab his neck. And then the humming.
It happens so fast. Too fast. Always too fast.
It’s almost my turn already. The Filler reaches next to me and grabs my breathless brother.
He’s tossed into a can with the other breathless ones.
Empty of breath but still full.
And then the grabbing, the hum, the force—tearing into me.
Cold and burning at the same time.
Achieving the impossible.
How can I possibly hold more?
Forcing food on top of food on top of food. My breath leaves me to make space and I think of my brothers in the can.
And then it’s over. It’s dark again. What’s left of my breath returns. I try to drink the air but there’s no room for it anymore. It’s hot and quick. Fire in my raw throat.
I hear my brothers trying too. Trying to fill ourselves with air. All around us but impossible to have.
Perhaps we do know hunger, after all.
The light is back. And they are back. It’s too soon.
It’s always too soon.
I wait for the hum but something’s different.
I hear the groaning of bars. The squeaking of wires. I hear my brothers’ muted cry.
Not even enough air to scream.
And then it’s my turn. The grabbing again, but no hum. The groans. The squeaking, and I’m free from the lock down. My wings extend, fire tears through them.
Are they burning?
The Fillers throw me into more wire. This time with my brothers beside me. Breathing. Heavy and quick.
All of us breathing.
And then moving. I’d forgotten moving. And light—real light! I’d forgotten light. And air that’s cool. If only I had room.
We’ve stopped moving. Some of us have stopped breathing.
There’s more groaning and squeaking. I can’t see but I know they’re coming. The Fillers. They’re coming to fill us again and tear the last bit of breath from us.
The grabbing again. This time it’s my feet. The fire’s in my feet and I’m upside down. It runs down my legs past my core so heavy and out through my mouth. I think I’m tearing in two.
My body too full for my legs. My wings are beating.
I’d forgotten my wings. How did I forget a part of me?
How did I forget—my breath! I’ve got no breath!
I feel the air from my brothers’ wings.
All of us making air.
All of us needing air.
All of us flying…
And then I see them. The Fillers. And it’s too soon.
I have no room left.
I have no air left.
I have too much and not enough all at once.
And then the air from my brother before me stops.
Amazing what’s conveyed by a void.
Then the grabbing. But this time no hum. Just fire. Shiny and hot.
The dark’s returning.
This is the story of a duck force-fed and slaughtered for the so-called “delicacy” foie gras. This is not an isolated incident. For more information on the foie gras industry, please see the information and additional videos below.
Foie gras, French for “fat liver,” is regarded as a gourmet delicacy. But for the ducks and geese in the foie gras industry, who are force-fed 2-3 times a day via metal tubes jammed down their throats, shooting high-carbohydrate mush into their stomachs, the process is anything but delicate.
The brutal practice of force-feeding, known as gavage, begins when the birds are between 8 and 15 weeks old and lasts anywhere from 10-21 days. During the “feeding period,” they are either kept in “barren cages,” single-bird enclosures virtually flush against each bird’s body or in filthy, overcrowded group pens deceptively referred to as “free-range” facilities.
Experts across disciplines and dietary inclinations agree that foie gras is an unusually cruel animal product. Force-feeding’s intent is to produce a fatty liver. This is literally inducing a disease state in the body, leading to obesity, difficulty breathing, and hepatic lipidosis (the medical term for the desired fatty liver).
See the lie of “Humane Foie Gras” exposed in the video post “Amazon.com Foie Gras: Expectation Vs Reality,” which compares Amazon.com’s “free-range” foie gras supplier Hudson Valley’s public image and private reality.
They suffer severe esophageal tissue damage from the violent feeding procedure, as well as wing fractures, and lameness as a result of their rapid and oppressive weight gain and restrictive “living” conditions. Outside of the feeding periods, these birds are kept in near darkness
Ducks raised for foie gras are typically slaughtered at 100 days of age, and geese at 112 days, with the mortality rate of foie gras birds prior to slaughter reaching upwards of 20 times greater than birds raised without force-feeding.
Foie gras is considered so barbaric that it’s been outlawed in many countries including Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. Additionally, foie gras imports & sales are banned in India. Retailers like Target, Safeway, Costco, Giant Eagle and Wolfgang Puck have also banned foie gras.
In late 2004, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning the sale of foie gras in California. The ban took effect eight years later in July 2012, but was overturned only 2.5 years later on January 7th, 2015. Duck-farming organizations sued over the ban and even when in place, it was not respected in restaurants.
In traditional French foie gras production, only male ducklings are used as they gain weight faster than females and exhibit more “less veinous” livers. Just as the egg industry has no use for male baby chicks, female baby ducks in the foie gras industry are brutally killed within their first days of life by either being painfully gassed, slowly suffocated, or thrown alive into grinders, a practice called “maceration.” This is an internationally standard practice. 
The short lives of birds raised for foie gras are absolutely brutal. They are denied even the most fundamental pleasure so central to their nature: swimming in water.
They live in constant pain, imprisoned in their own bodies as much as their cages.
How can this torturous existence be termed a “delicacy?”
Now is the time to speak up. The time is ripe for change.
Now go live vegan, take brutality off of your plate, and I’ll see you soon.
— Emily Moran Barwick