One of the Hudson Valley’s bragging rights is that the name “Hudson” sells. It attracts tourism. Recreational outfitters tag it to their names. There are books about Hudson Valley cuisine. Businesses proudly carry the descriptors Hudson, Hudson River, Hudson Highlands, On-the-Hudson, and more.

A worker begins to force the full length of a metal feeding tube down the throat of a goose,  from a promotional video by Hudson Valley Foie Grois.

A worker begins to force the full length of a metal feeding tube down the throat of a duck. Capture from a promotional video by Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

This was not always the case. In the 1960s and 70s, the long-polluted Hudson River was a national joke, and “Hudson” as a business pitch was considered poor salesmanship. But today the name of America’s first river, as Bill Moyers called the Hudson, can lend even animal cruelty its own quaint Americana style, as in “Hudson Valley Foie Gras.”

According to PETA:

It calls itself the premier producer of foie gras in America. But, in 2013, a PETA investigator visited Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG), a factory farm, and saw workers shove steel tubes down ducks’ throats and pump huge amounts of grain into them. The investigator recorded HVFG’s manager stating that this is done three times a day, every day, for weeks.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras exploits not only unwary ducks, but the unwary Hudson. The company, with headquarters in Ferndale, NY, is actually located in the Upper Delaware River Valley. Apparently the name “Upper Delaware” lacks the necessary panache to sell the grotesquely swollen livers HVFG cuts out of the ducks it force feeds.

In the first video below, the Animal Protection and Rescue League presents an “industry-wide animal cruelty investigation of the U.S. foie gras industry” that includes HVFG. In the second, veterinarian Holly Cheever explains that HVFG ducks have livers so swollen the birds cannot balance themselves when walking.

Meanwhile, in a story familiar to animal activists nationwide, at the insistence of HVFG Sullivan County District Attorney James R. Farrell has charged college student Amber Canavan with trespassing on HVG’s property and stealing two ducks. But Canavan’s real crime is the video she recorded of HVFG cruelties (see below) and submitted her evidence to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, writing in her affidavit that she “observed sick animals, animals with untreated wounds… and caked in their own feces.”