20th February 2013
Get Torture in a tin off Amazon
Outrage as online giant profits off duck and geese torture
ANIMAL WELFARE CHARITY VIVA! are calling on Amazon to stop selling controversial foie-gras on their British online marketplace*. This comes after a new investigation in France shows shockingly intensive force-feeding at a farm that supplies goods sold through the online giant**.
Foie-gras is typically made from force-feeding ducks and geese so much grain that their livers expand up to ten times their natural size. Production of foie-gras is illegal in the UK as it would break existing animal welfare law. Viva! say Amazon should not be profiting off the back of something that might get them arrested on cruelty grounds if they produced it in the UK themselves.
Viva! also say that a consumer boycott is not enough, as recent figures show that Britain now imports more foie-gras than ever before and, as a country, we now import more from France than Germany, Italy or Holland***. The group says that the suffering endured by ducks and geese raised for foie-gras is so bad that all ethical retailers should shun it. The group is also calling on the Government to protect our sovereign welfare laws and exploit loopholes in trade laws to ban its importation.
Justin Kerswell, campaigns manager at Viva!, says: Foie-gras is mostly produced by imprisoning birds in cages so tiny they cant move, by forcing a pipe down their throats and force feeding them until their livers swell to ten times their natural size. I cant imagine why anyone would want to eat it or be involved in its sale. It is quite simply torture in a tin. There is nothing humane about mechanically inducing disease in a bird.
Amazon may be smarting after accusations of tax evasion last year, but what they cannot deny is that they are making profit off the sale of what are essentially the diseased livers of tortured birds. All major UK supermarkets have taken the ethical decision not to sell foie-gras, but it seems that Amazon thinks online retailers should not come under the same scrutiny. What possible justification could there be for that apart from greed?
For more information about Viva!s campaign against foie-gras, visit www.viva.org.uk/foiegras or call 0117 944 1000.
For more information about this media release and high quality print ready photos from the investigation, call Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or email email@example.com.
Notes to Editors
Viva! will be holding an online Day of Action encouraging consumers to contact Amazon en masse on Saturday 9 March, 2013. More details at www.viva.org.uk/amazon
* On the UK Amazon Marketplace grocery section there are over a hundred products available to buy containing foie-gras. Amazon sell foie-gras themselves and allow third-part companies to do so, too. Amazon currently prohibit the sale of animal products containing whale or dolphin on their Marketplace.
** Viva! is working in association with French group Stop Gavage/L214 to expose the true face of foie-gras production in France where the vast majority is still produced.
Over 97 per cent of birds used in foie-gras production in France are ducks, most of which are tightly caged during force-feeding.
A recent investigation at a farm belonging to a producer (Labeyrie), whose products are currently on sale on Amazon, shows distressing scenes of ducks being force-fed huge amounts of grain with pneumatic pumps.
These birds are in group cages which are theoretically a welfare improvement over individual cages used by most foie-gras producers for ducks in France. However, to incapacitate them and prevent them from avoiding being force-fed, an automatic bar pins the ducks to the floor of the cage.
Ducks can bruise easily, and it is feared that this new system will add to the suffering of Frances 38-40 million birds force-fed annually.
*** 192 tonnes of foie-gras was imported into the UK in 2010 according to French industry figures. The UK consumes more French foie-gras than Germany, twice as much as Italy and four times more than Holland. (Commerce extérieur francais: foie-gras. FranceAgriMer, November 2011). This represents a value of 3.54 million (around £2.85 million) per year. According to import figures this has increased from 127 tonnes in 2006. More details.
Farming minister David Heath has recently suggested consumers boycott foie-gras. Viva! has written to David Heath to point out potential loopholes in trade rules which mean Britain could ban the importation of foie-gras (letter on request).