With ducks only making an impact on Australia’s plate and palate in recent years, it’s easy to forget that these birds are factory farmed. Over eight million ducks per year, mostly Pekin ducks, are bred and raised in conditions much like broiler chickens.
They are often packed into closed sheds with only one square metre of floor space for up to five fully grown birds, or 50 ducklings. They have no access to the outdoors and no surface water for them to carry out their natural behaviour like swimming, preening and feeding. Birds who normally live up to 10 years in the wild have their lives cut short at seven weeks, when they are slaughtered.
The forgotten bird
When people think of factory farming they think of chickens or pigs, animals who are bred and slaughtered in their hundreds of millions. When they think of ducks, it’s easier to imagine the local pond than a factory farm. But over eight million ducks are intensively farmed in Australia each year. They are raised in conditions similar to broiler chickens, and suffer just as much.
Ducks are aquatic birds. They swim, preen, and feed in the water. However there is no legal requirement for intensive or free range duck farms to provide a body of water, and ducks suffer horrendously because of this:
- Normally, ducks do not constantly bear their own body weight because they spend much of their time on water. This issue is compounded by selective breeding which causes ducks to grow faster and heavier. In factory farms ducks can be carrying masses of up to 3.5kg, leading to lameness and broken limbs
- without water to immerse their heads in, ducks are unable to keep their eyes, nostrils and feathers clean. Dirt, dust, and faeces can build up leading to crusty eye and sometimes even blindness.
Other injuries common for factory farmed ducks include damaged feet caused by wire mesh floors. The wire damages the delicate skin on ducks’ webbed feet, causing problems such as bumblefoot, pus-filled cuts and abrasions.
In the wild ducks live up to 10 years. In factory farms their lives are cut short at a mere seven weeks, when they are considered big enough for slaughter.
The public need to be aware that ducks suffer similarly to other farmed animals and birds. Animal Liberation calls for an end to all duck farming.
- do not eat duck meat, or purchase clothes or home furnishings filled with down (duck feathers)
- visit our websitewww.aussieducks.com.auto find out more about the duck industry
- download our full report on the duck industry, “Like a Duck out of Water” and send to restaurants in your area that you know include ducks on their menu
- don’t patronise restaurants who display dead ducks hanging in the window, and make sure you tell the manager or owner why you won’t be eating at their restaurant
- become a member of Animal Liberation and help fund the fight against duck farming
- lobby your local MP to support the banning of farmed ducks and educate them about the issues of water deprivation.