London – Animal protection groups – including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Compassion in World Farming, Animal Defenders International, Animal Aid, Viva!, Four Paws, One Kind, Save Me and the International Veterinary Society – have, today, joined PETA’s call for Fortnum & Mason to end its sale of vile foie gras. In a letter sent to the store’s new managing director, Ewan Venters, the groups voiced the opposition of their millions of supporters to the barbaric force-feeding of geese and refuted the store’s preposterous claim that less than 1 per cent of the population are opposed to foie gras sales. In fact, a 2007 poll conducted by Ipsos MORI and commissioned by the RSPCA, showed that 63 per cent of the public support a ban on the sale of foie gras in the UK and the number is now believed to be even higher.
“Hundreds of groups in the UK and thousands of groups around the world – representing millions of people from all walks of life – are united in agreement that there is no excuse for the gratuitous abuse of animals” says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. “And there can be few things more gratuitous than cruelly force-feeding geese and ducks for a fleeting taste of a diseased liver”.
Birds raised for foie gras are force-fed huge amounts of grain three or four times every day via a metal pipe that is rammed down their throats. The birds’ livers swell to up to 10 times their normal size, resulting in a disease known as “hepatic steatosis”. Their breathing can become laboured as their engorged livers press against their lungs, and they often experience difficulty walking, grooming and even drinking.
Leading animal protection organisations recently met with members of the European Parliament in Brussels to call for an EU ban on the force-feeding of birds for foie gras production, which is already banned in the UK. It is allowed in just five European countries – including France – which is why Fortnum & Mason shamefully pays French farmers to force-feed geese on its behalf before importing their diseased livers back into the UK to sell in its Piccadilly store.