What is Foie Gras?
Foie gras means ‘fatty liver’. It comes from ducks and geese subject to force-feeding to enlarge their livers to ten times their usual size.
Typically, farms force-fed birds for a fortnight before slaughter. During that time, the birds suffer in individual cages with their heads trapped through an opening at the front. A pump then forces a large quantity of food down their throats several times a day.
Not only are the birds unable to engage in normal behaviours such as feeding, preening, standing and walking, but they are also subject to huge physical and psychological stress. You can read more about it in our blog, Fois Gras: Is it really worth the cost?
Where does Foie Gras come from?
Due to animal welfare laws, foie gras is illegal to produce in the UK. But, we can still import it from countries such as France, Spain and Belgium. Over 150 tonnes are imported from mainland Europe to the UK annually. If the standards of animal welfare involved in foie gras production are illegal in the UK, then why are they happy to import the same product from another country?
How Can You Help?
Firstly, sign the petition! This campaign, which was launched in 2017, has gained significant traction, with politicians from multiple parties expressing support and DEFRA confirming publically that they intend to implement a ban, though this has yet to happen. Many celebrities and concerned animal lovers have also gotten behind the campaign, with peaceful protests encouraging restaurants such as the Tate Modern to remove foie gras from their menus.
The second step is to share the campaign on social media. Finally, refuse to buy foie gras and, if you see it for sale, raise the issue with the retailer or restaurant manager, asking them not to stock it. Public pressure has huge power in influencing both political and commercial decisions. If the public refuses to support or purchase foie gras, then the UK will have no reason to import it in the future, hopefully leading to a reduction in the number of birds suffering in the name of this ‘delicacy’.
Campaign by OneKind volunteer Ami Patrick.