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Celebrities Urge The Government To Ban Foie Gras Imports

Peter Egan, Ricky Gervais, Dr Amir Khan and Dame Joanna Lumley call for a ban on foie gras made by force-feeding being imported into the UK.

Much-loved celebrities have sent a letter to the UK Government urging it to finally ban foie gras made by force-feeding, a supposed ‘delicacy’ which causes extreme suffering to millions of ducks and geese worldwide each year.

The letter to the Government, from actor and dedicated animal activist Peter Egan, states that ‘the UK public is sick to death of foie gras made by cruel force-feeding‘. The letter is also co-signed by Peter Egan’s co-star and writer of the popular comedy-drama series After Life, Ricky Gervais, as well as TV personality and GP, Dr Amir Khan, and British actor and activist, Dame Joanna Lumley.

I have seen the cruelty involved in foie gras production with my own eyes and it is, without doubt, one of the most devastating things I have ever witnessed. I decided to write a letter to the Government as, like most of the UK, I am growing impatient to see the end to imports of this horrific product.

Peter Egan, actor and animal activist

The letter’s signatories join numerous other celebrities who have joined Animal Equality’s call and spoken out in favour of a foie gras ban in recent years, including Alan Carr, Thandiwe Newton, and Dev Patel.

A quarter of a million people are calling for a foie gras ban

The celebrities’ letter comes as Animal Equality surpasses 250,000 signatures on its petition urging the UK Government to ban the importation of products made by force-feeding, such as foie gras.

The act of force-feeding animals has been illegal in the UK for decades, yet we continue to import foie gras – it’s cruel and nonsensical. The Government must take this opportunity, keep its word, and make this ban a reality.

Jenny Canham, Campaigns and Public Affairs Specialist at Animal Equality UK

Animal Equality’s campaign to ban foie gras imports

Our investigators have captured footage from several foie gras farms in France and Spain over the last decade. The harrowing images show ducks and geese suffering in barren cages, terrified and struggling while they are brutally force-fed using metal tubes.

In 2017, we launched a campaign to ban foie gras imports in the UK and have made significant progress towards our goal since then, with cross-party political backing, widespread public support, impactful protests, and more.

In September 2021, we handed in over 225,000 petition signatures to 10 Downing Street, where we were joined by Peter Egan, along with Michelin-starred French chef Alexis Gauthier.

(L-R) Michelin-starred chef Alexis Gauthier; Executive Director of Animal Equality UK Abigail Penny; actor and activist Peter Egan.

Despite promises from Government officials, we are yet to see concrete steps being taken to ban foie gras imports. We are continuing to lobby the Government until this crucial ban, which would impact around 250,000 birds a year, is put into UK law.

Read the letter:

Dear Rt Hon George Eustice MP and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park,

I am writing to you today, on behalf of my friends and colleagues, to ask that you ban imports of foie gras made by force-feeding. A new year gives room for new aspirations, new initiatives and new beginnings – and so, as 2022 is now underway, we implore you to uphold the UK’s reputation as a nation of animal lovers by forbidding imports of foie gras made by force-feeding.

As, sure enough, the ducks and geese farmed for foie gras are sick to death as force-feeding causes their livers to become diseased and swell up to become roughly the size of a small football – we are sick to death of foie gras in the UK.

As well as acting, another of my true passions in life is animal protection. I have been supporting the organisation Animal Equality with its mission to ban imports of products made by force-feeding since the team launched a petition back in 2017, and I’ve been with them every step of the way since then.

In 2018, I accompanied Animal Equality to document what was happening on a foie gras farm in France. In all my years as an activist, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. This first-hand experience is the reason for my appeal to you today.

In foie gras farms, ducks and geese are confined inside metal cages so that when they are force-fed multiple times a day, they cannot escape.

I recall looking at the geese inside the farm that day, witnessing the sheer panic in their eyes as they frantically tried to escape their metal cages.

What followed – the gruesome force-feeding process – was one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen with my own eyes. That’s why this issue is so close to my heart; I know the reality that these animals face. 

In September 2021, I joined Animal Equality in handing in a petition with over 225,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street, showing the strength of public support for a ban to be implemented immediately. As you know, force-feeding has been illegal in the UK since 2006 and so production of foie gras is not permitted here – so why do you continue to permit imports of this vile ‘delicacy’?

Animal Equality’s petition has now surpassed a quarter of a million signatures. Each and every signature represents another person who is, quite frankly, fed up with foie gras.

It’s a new year, and so we are asking you to end the UK’s support of this cruel and unnecessary product in the UK. Please, ban the import and sale of foie gras made by force-feeding, once and for all.

Yours in good faith,
Peter Egan

Co-signed by:
Ricky Gervais – comedian, actor, director and writer
Dr Amir Khan – NHS GP and ITV/Channel 5 doctor
Dame Joanna Lumley – actor, author, television producer and activist

Take action to ban foie gras

All animals deserve our respect and compassion. That’s why I’m supporting Animal Equality’s campaign to ban the import and sale of foie gras made by force-feeding. There is no place for foie gras in the UK – or anywhere else for that matter. The practice of force-feeding is absolute agony for ducks and geese, and it’s high time that the UK ends its support of this suffering.

Dr Amir Khan, TV GP and NHS doctor

Join these celebrities and the 250,000+ compassionate people demanding an immediate end to UK imports of foie gras by signing Animal Equality’s petition today.

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Each year more than 200,000 tonnes of foie gras made by force-feeding are imported into the UK. Its production is so cruel that it is illegal to make in the UK, yet we hypocritically continue to permit imports. Previously unpublished images taken inside several duck farms in France show the terrible animal suffering involved in foie gras production.

Following conversations with Animal Equality, Giles Watling MP successfully tabled a Westminster Debate, speaking up for millions of ducks and geese trapped in cruel foie gras farms.