“We have so much fun at Christmas. We always eat well, and we eat a lot. Sometimes, even a little bit too much!” That’s the twisted message of Oscar winner Sir Mark Rylance's new Christmas-themed video for PETA highlighting the horrors of the foie gras industry, in which ducks and geese are force-fed massive amounts of food, causing their livers to swell to up to 10 times their natural size.
In the video, which urges the public to leave foie gras off their plates this Christmas, Rylance describes a festive family gathering. But his words take on a sinister double meaning when they’re juxtaposed over video footage – provided by Belgian animal protection group GAIA – of workers ramming metal tubes down birds’ throats. “Just one more bite,” he says. “Oh, come on – it’s Christmas. Afterwards, we can take a little nap to let our food digest, and then eat some more delicious food.”
To produce foie gras, ducks and geese are force-fed several times a day until their livers become diseased and swollen. By the end of their lives, many birds have trouble breathing because their enlarged livers compress their lungs. PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way” – has released exposés of foie gras farms that show sick, dead, and dying birds, some of whom had holes in their necks from being impaled by the feeding pipes. Foie gras production is so inhumane that it would be illegal in the UK and more than a dozen other countries.
“Oh, those warm and cosy moments,” concludes Rylance. “It brings tears to our eyes.”
Rylance previously appeared in a campaign for PETA urging people to steer clear of bear shows. He is part of a long list of British icons – including Ralph Fiennes, Ricky Gervais, Dame Vera Lynn, Twiggy, Kate Winslet, and the late Sir Roger Moore – who have joined PETA’s campaign against foie gras.