By Mimi Bekhechi - 9th November 2012
The process is so cruel that it is illegal in 17 countries
Compassionate people have won the battle over the production and sale of Foie gras, argues Mimi Bekhechi.
At a recent press conference covered by The Parliament Magazine, MEP Françoise Castex joined French minister for the agri-food industry Guillaume Garot and other foie gras apologists to defend the deadly delicacy with utterances so patently absurd that they would be laughable if so much animal suffering were not involved.
Ms Castex claims that California's ban on the sale of foie gras represents a "battle for Europe". In truth, the battle has already been fought – and won – by compassionate people who will no longer tolerate the abuse of millions of birds for this vile product.
The production of foie gras involves force-feeding ducks and geese enormous amounts of food through pipes which are rammed down their throats causing their liver to swell up to 10 times their normal size.
The process is so cruel that it is illegal in 17 countries, including the UK, with an Ipsos MORI poll showing that 63 per cent of Britons would like to see a ban on the import of foie gras as well.
The assertion of French chef André Daguin that the birds "do not suffer" is refuted by the majority of avian experts, veterinarians, the EU scientific committee on animal health and animal welfare and the UN Food And Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which has stated that "the production of fatty liver for foie gras ... raises serious animal welfare issues and it is not a practice that is condoned by FAO".
While the foie gras industry speaks out to question whether California's ban represents a "violation of international trade rules" - never mind that many other bans concerning the trafficking of exotic animals, illegal drugs and humans have already passed such tests - it remains silent on a recent PETA UK investigation into French foie gras farms, which showed birds too sick to stand being force-fed violently while others had their throats cut without being stunned, in violation of French law.
The geese struggled and lifted their heads for several minutes as blood poured from their necks. Does Mr Garot really feel that this abuse is "something we can be proud of"?
Contrary to the suggestions of Ms Castex and company, foie gras production is a fading "industry", in which only a handful of producers in just five EU member states operate.
Support for this vile product continues to crumble. Just days after the news conference, eight MEPs called for foie gras to be banned throughout the EU and described it as "the result of real torture for animals".
The simple fact is that this gross abuse of animals in the name of gastronomy has no place in 21st-century Europe.
Mimi Bekhechi is UK Associate Director for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)