Activists from grassroots animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) gathered in front of local grocer Wild Fork last weekend to protest the sale of foie gras. The demonstration, which took place in front of a busy intersection directly adjacent to the building, reached many drivers and passersby due to the heavy Super Bowl Sunday traffic. More than a dozen protesters attended the event that lasted for three hours.
DxE’s protest of Wild Fork constitutes one chapter in their ongoing, focused campaign to eliminate the sale of foie gras in Orlando. Throughout 2022, the animal rights group succeeded in pushing for the removal of foie gras from a total of five establishments including the Wine Room, the Ravenous Pig, Chef’s Table, Kres Chophouse, and La Boucherie Orlando. In light of these victories, DxE has expressed optimism that Wild Fork will become number six on the list.
Foie gras, (or “fatty liver” in French) is literally the liver of a duck or goose that has been severely over-fattened to turn the organ “fatty.” The process of creating foie gras involves a method called “gavage,” wherein birds are repeatedly force-fed with metal pipes that are pushed down the throat and into the stomach. The constant injection of grain and fat makes the livers of ducks and geese swell to ten times the normal size. The state of California has banned the sale of foie gras, condemning the practice of gavage as barbaric and cruel. Several countries around the world have also prohibited foie gras, including Israel, Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
Many Americans seem to be receptive to a foie gras ban as well. A 2019 poll revealed that 81% of New York voters support legislation to ban the sale of foie gras. According to DxE, Sunday’s protest suggested similar feelings among Floridians, as the group noted a nearly endless stream of honks, waves, and thumbs-ups from both the drivers and pedestrians they encountered.
Many informational leaflets were received with similar enthusiasm, although DxE reports one of their inquirers was unexpected. Not long into the protest, a Wild Fork employee surprised the group by coming outside to ask for a DxE leaflet. One activist described the subsequent conversation that, unfortunately, did not lead anywhere productive.
“He told us it’s possible to get foie gras without force-feeding,” DxE organizer Arwen Carlin stated. “But we know that it’s not. There is no natural method or diet that could lead to those horribly engorged, fatty livers. I think these vendors are lying to people about the production process.”
Wild Fork still has yet to respond to the calls of concerned citizens about the sale of foie gras, and have issued no formal comments on the protests of their business. But these demonstrations are not likely to end any time soon. DxE Orlando has stated their intentions to continue to pressure Wild Fork until they agree to end the sale of what protesters call “the cruelest food on Earth.”
DxE activists hold up animal rights signs at a busy intersection in front of Wild Fork. (photos courtesy of DxE Orlando)