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BREAKING NEWS: Labour to ban foie gras!

In a move celebrated by the UK public, animal advocates, and British farmers alike, the Labour Party has confirmed that, if elected, it will ban the importation of foie gras produced by force-feeding!
04/06/2024

This commitment from the Labour Party follows an email action led by Animal Equality last month. Ahead of the dissolution of Parliament on the 30th May and the upcoming general election on the 4th July, Animal Equality urged their supporters to contact sympathetic MPs asking them to put pressure on the party to include a foie gras import ban in their manifesto.

Ruth Jones, who was Shadow Minister for Environmental Protection and Animal Welfare and Labour MP for Newport West at the time, replied to a concerned member of the public and issued the Labour Party’s official statement. Jones criticised the Conservative Party for its “inaction” on the issue, stating the following:

“The government has still failed to take any action and has refused to announce when the end date for this evidence-gathering process will be. This is deeply concerning. I can confirm that should the Labour Party be fortunate enough to win the election on the 4th July, we will commit to an outright import ban on foie gras as soon as possible in the next Parliament”.

The Labour Party’s commitment to banning foie gras imports is not new. The 2019 Animal Welfare Manifesto included a proposed ban, and the party attempted to enact it during the passage of the Agriculture Act 2020, though without success. In 2022, then Environment Minister Jim McMahon pledged that Labour would ban foie gras and hunting trophy imports if it gained power. Now, in a move to be celebrated, the party is reaffirming its dedication to this cause.

One step forward

Animal Equality UK has been at the forefront of the campaign to ban foie gras imports since 2017. We have garnered nearly 300,000 petition signatures and support from celebrities like Ricky Gervais, Dame Joanna Lumley, and Mark Ryland. Through the release of over ten investigations into foie gras farms, Animal Equality has documented severe animal suffering on foie gras farms, including birds with breathing difficulties, eye infections, broken wings, and beaks, some covered in blood or left dead and rotting.

“Foie gras production is undeniably brutal, yet for decades the UK has effectively been outsourcing cruelty – this hypocrisy must stop. This is evidently a key voter issue, with an overwhelming majority of Brits in favour of a foie gras import ban, so I am delighted to see the Labour Party take a decisive position on this issue”.

Abigail Penny, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK

Abigail Penny urged other parties to make similar commitments, adding, “Foie gras has no place on the plates of the British public”. Political parties have debated the issue for years. In April 2020, Conservative veteran Lord Zac Goldsmith, then Environment Minister, acknowledged that foie gras production raised serious animal welfare concerns and was incompatible with domestic legislation. Despite a pledge in March 2021 to implement a ban “in the next few months,” the plan was scrapped by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson in February the following year, causing widespread frustration among politicians and animal advocates.

While some Conservative politicians, like Giles Watling, continued to push for discussions, the party did not introduce new legislation. Instead, it maintained a commitment to building an evidence base to inform future decisions, without specifying an end date for this research. Between mid-2021 and 2023, the Government’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs met with only four external stakeholders: Animal Equality, Waitrose, Foie Royale, and Euro Foie Gras.

Leading academics, including Professor Donald Broom of the University of Cambridge, have extensively studied the effects of force-feeding on ducks and geese. A 2017 paper by Professor Broom found that force-fed ducks exhibited signs of severe physical and psychological distress, such as prolonged periods of lying down, little preening or interaction, thermal stress, panting, and walking difficulties. Broom concluded, “The practice of force-feeding causes a sharp deterioration in the welfare of the ducks.”

The Labour Party’s renewed commitment to banning foie gras imports reflects a growing public consensus on animal protection and highlights the need for decisive political action to end this controversial practice.

Help us get the ban done!

Support Animal Equality

Ahead of the 2024 General Election, Animal Equality is ramping up its efforts to ensure animal protection issues are kept high up in the manifestos of major political parties so they can be held accountable. The chance to make big changes only comes around once every few years. By supporting Animal Equality’s dedicated team, you can help consign medieval practices like force-feeding to the darkest pages of history textbooks!

END THE CRUELTY

Foie gras is immensely cruel. Its production causes ducks and geese severe physical and psychological pain. You can protect ducks and geese by opting for plant-based alternatives.


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