Foie gras produced by force-feeding is immensely cruel and controversial. Production of this so-called ‘delicacy’ causes unimaginable suffering to millions of birds each year.
Animal Equality’s investigations show the horrific practices involved in ‘gavage’ - the force-feeding process where sensitive ducks and geese are brutally fattened up using a feeding tube that is forced down their throats.
These animals endure severe physical and psychological pain throughout their short lives.
The ruthless force-feeding process causes the birds’ livers to swell to ten times their natural size. The animal’s diseased liver is then sold and marketed as foie gras.
Feeding tubes are brutally forced down the throats of birds in order to fatten them up
They are typically kept in tiny, unsanitary, cage-like facilities, unable to express even their most basic desires, such as spreading their wings
Their livers swell to 10 times the natural size, causing extraordinary pain
Force-feeding animals is illegal in the UK - based on welfare grounds - yet imports of this abhorrent ‘speciality’ product are not. A YouGov poll found that 79% of British respondents are in support of a ban and 150,000 Brits have supported our campaign calling for an end to foie gras imports.
It is currently enshrined in law that: ‘Animals shall be fed a wholesome diet which is appropriate to their age and species and which is fed to them in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health, to satisfy their nutritional needs and to promote a positive state of well-being.’
And that: ‘No animals shall be provided with food or liquid in a manner, nor shall such food or liquid contain any substance, which may cause them unnecessary suffering or injury.’
We claim to be a nation of animal lovers, so why are we allowing such an abhorrent product to appear in our shops?
Animal Equality’s team and supporters are calling on George Eustice and Lord Goldsmith to ban the UK’s importation of foie gras produced by force-feeding, of the meat of force-fed animals, and the sale of such products in the UK.
There is no time to waste. The Government must hear our plea, formally agree to a ban, draft clear legislation now and enact this ban as soon as possible. The Government’s indecision on this issue must end.
We call on the opposition parties to express their support too.
Following the launch of our campaign in 2017, we have made significant progress towards achieving our goal of securing a ban on the importation of foie gras made by force-feeding:
There is political appetite for a ban. Animal Equality has secured cross-party backing, with leading political figures in Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green parties announcing support for our demand.
With the help of Henry Smith MP, we hosted a reception in the House of Commons and prompted an adjournment debate in Parliament on the proposed ban.
In April 2020, following lobbying from Animal Equality and sympathetic MPs, Lord Goldsmith confirmed in a letter that “The production of foie gras from ducks or geese using force feeding (known as gavage) raises serious animal welfare concerns” and is “incompatible with our domestic legislation”.
Known for our undercover investigations, Animal Equality’s brave investigators have captured footage from a number of foie gras farms in Spain and France over the years. These harrowing images show ducks and geese suffering severely in barren, wire cages, with many terrified birds struggling whilst they are ruthlessly force-fed with metal tubes. The British public continues to show outrage and disgust when viewing these horrors.
Our campaign, running since 2017, has gathered over 150,000 signatures of support. And two YouGov polls, commissioned by Animal Equality in 2018 and 2019, revealed that 79% of respondents who expressed an opinion were in favour of this ask.
Outreach and peaceful protests
Thanks to the help of our dedicated volunteers and activists, our peaceful campaign actions have successfully encouraged a number of restaurants to remove foie gras from their menus, including Tate Modern, Royal Festival Hall’s Skylon restaurant, Wallace Collection’s brasserie, Bluebird Chelsea and Crowne Plaza hotels.
There is strength of feeling on this serious issue. With support from an army of celebrities and animal welfare experts, our crucial message has been spread far and wide.
Alan Carr is the latest in a long list of animal-lovers and celebs encouraging the Government to enact a ban as soon as possible. Other stars in support include Ricky Gervais, Dev Patel, Joanna Lumley, Peter Egan and Thandie Newton, alongside respected animal specialists, Emma Milne and Professor Donald Broom.