1st December 2011
Bath Council strikes cruel foie-gras off the menu
COUNCIL leaders in Bath have become the first in the Westcountry to ban the controversial delicacy foie-gras from menus in their premises, in a move welcomed by animal campaigners.
Bath and North East Somerset Council received 1,890 signatures, gathered by the Bath Animal Action group, calling on them to reject the dish, which consists of the liver of a duck or goose who has been fattened by force-feeding.
The long-running campaign, which began in 2009, was also supported by Bristol-based animal group Viva!, as part of their national drive to make Britain foie-gras free by highlighting the cruelty and suffering endured by birds involved in its production.
In a recent letter, leader of the council, counsellor Paul Crossley, said:
We are happy to ban foie-gras in our own establishments. It is not currently served. Where properties owned by the council are leased by third party caterers, we will ask them to consider a ban on foie-gras and we will ensure that such a sub clause is included in any new leases, although we cannot retrospectively enforce a new clause in existing leases.
Megan Lebasci, from Bath Animal Action, says:
We are really pleased the council has proved to be forward thinking on ethical and animal cruelty concerns regarding the sale of foie-gras in its premises. Bath can now add 'cruelty free' to its list of attributes, which is great news.
Viva! campaigns director, Justin Kerswell, says:
Viva! were delighted to support Bath Animal Action on such an important campaign. Well done also to Bath for being the first authority in the region to make this ruling; I hope other local authorities look to follow their example.
Foie-gras production has been deemed so cruel, it is actually illegal in this country leaving the delicacy, dubbed torture in a tin, to be imported from Europe.
Mr Kerswell adds: Lets hope that this sends a clear message out to other retailers in the city that torture is never acceptable and that they are also being un-British by selling something would be illegal to produce here. And if consumers are at all concerned about animal welfare Id urge them to also turn their back on this vile foodstuff.
For more information about Viva!s campaign against foie-gras, visit www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/foiegras
[b]Notes to Editors[b]
For more information about this media release, contact Bath Animal Action on 07794 313152.
For more information on the campaign, photos or video of foie-gras production, contact Justin Kerswell or press officer Helen Rossiter on 0117 944 1000 or visit www.viva.org.uk/foiegras
Foie-gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese large amounts of food so that their livers swell to up to ten times the normal size. A pipe is shoved down the birds oesophagus and food is forced into the stomach. The process is repeated two or three times daily for two to three weeks until the birds develop fatty liver disease. They are then slaughtered. Over 90 per cent of birds used in foie-gras production are ducks, with around a million birds dying during force-feeding each year.
Foie-gras is not produced in Britain, as the Government has made it clear that its production would contravene existing animal welfare regulations.
However, tons are legally imported each year. Its production has been outlawed in Poland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Israel.
The group persuaded UK branches of Lidl and Makro to pull foie-gras and was instrumental in Harvey Nichols decision to drop it. The BBC has told Viva! that they will not cater with foie-gras in the future and are considering dropping it from future editions of shows such as Masterchef. The Marriot hotel chain has also said that it is likely they would remove foie-gras from future menus. Dozens of smaller businesses throughout the UK have also followed suit following Viva!s intervention.
Most recently, cruise firm Thomas Cook have also scrapped it from their menus after correspondence with Viva!
Viva! have produced their own satirical on-line film on foie-gras, which can be viewed at www.viva.org.uk/foiegras.
A fully referenced factsheet on foie-gras production can be read at http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/foiegras/factsheet.html