Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Embarrassed Liver Charity Takes Diseased Liver off Menu

Release date: 
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Children's Liver Disease Foundation's Gala Dinner was to serve cruel foie-gras

Foie gras " a form of diseased duck liver " has been hurriedly removed for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation's (CLDF) gala dinner menu. Due to take place tomorrow, March 22, at the Jumeriah Carlton Hotel in London, the charity acted after strong protests by the campaigns group Viva!, which is calling for a foie-gras-free Britain.

Foie-gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese large amounts of food in order to disease their livers, causing them to swell to up to 10 times the normal size. Most birds are held in cages so small they cannot move and a pipe is thrust down their oesophagus to allow food to be forced into the stomach. The process is repeated two or three times daily for three weeks until the birds develop fatty liver disease, when they are slaughtered. Mostly male ducklings are used as they gain weight more readily " millions of females are killed by being thrown alive into macerators - electric mincers - at a few days old.

Foie-gras is not produced in Britain as it would contravene welfare regulations but the UK is one of Europe's biggest consumers, importing over 4,000 tons annually. Animal welfare minister, Ben Bradshaw, recently urged consumers to boycott foie-gras. Its production has also been outlawed in Poland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Israel.

"What a horrible irony that a charity set up to fight liver disease was prepared to serve diseased birds' livers at its fundraising dinner', says Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell. "While fighting to cure it in children, it seems they were quite happy to encourage foreign farmers to induce liver disease in other sentient animals. Someone clearly hadn't joined the dots up so we're pleased that CLDF has responded to our concerns and pulled foie-gras off the menu. We're calling on all consumers to do the same and replace this unspeakably cruel "torture in a tin' with a healthier, kinder vegetarian option.'

In 2004, Viva! successfully campaigned to outlaw both the production and selling of foie-gras in California, the world's fifth-largest economy. Most recently, Viva! persuaded supermarket chain Lidl to end the sale of foie-gras from all its 400 stores.

Notes for Editors

Media Release from CLDF which shows they originally intended on serving foie-gras: http://www.childliverdisease.org/press/releases/current/fundraisingdinner

Hi-res photos of foie-gras production (force feeding and caged ducks) are available from Viva! Contact Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or email justin@viva.org.uk

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