Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Fortnum & Mason stops "Duck Torture"

Viva! claims partial victory after duck foie-gras removed from shelves

Release date: 
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CAMPAIGING animal group Viva! has congratulated one of London's leading luxury lifestyle stores for ending the sale of foie-gras made from the livers of force-fed ducks. Although this is great news - Fortnum & Mason, on Piccadilly, have also been criticised by the group for not removing all foie-gras from their shelves. The move follows a peaceful protest outside the store before Christmas**. Viva! provided staff and customers with disturbing information showing the inherent cruelty of foie-gras production. Harvey Nichols also made the decision to go foie-gras free last year after being contacted by the group. Foie-gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese such large amounts of food that their livers swell to up to 10 times normal size. A pipe is shoved down the bird's oesophagus and food is pumped into the stomach. The process is repeated two or three times daily for two to three weeks until the birds develop fatty liver disease. Over 90 per cent of birds used in foie-gras production are ducks, most of which are tightly caged during force-feeding. Over 30 million birds are killed for foie-gras each year in France, with around a million dying during the force-feeding process. Britain is a major importer. Foie-gras is not produced in Britain as the Government has made it clear that its production would contravene existing animal welfare regulations. However, it is legal to import it. Previous Government minister for animal welfare, Ben Bradshaw, encouraged a consumer boycott. Viva! has also persuaded supermarket chain Lidl and wholesalers Makro to remove foie-gras from sale. House of Fraser also recently bowed to public pressure and is now completely foie-gras free while in the last few weeks more than 20 restaurants have permanently removed the product from sale. In 2004, Viva! successfully campaigned in California for legislation outlawing the production and sale of foie-gras. Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: "Foie-gras is torture in a tin. There is nothing humane about mechanically inducing disease in a bird by forcing a pipe down his throat and making him consume such an abnormal quantity of food that his liver expands many times its normal size. We welcome Fortnum & Mason's decision to not to sell foie-gras made from ducks, but geese suffer similar abject cruelty. If they want to show real compassion we urge them to clear their shelves of this cruel p't' once and for all. We ask consumers everywhere to give foie-gras the elbow and go vegetarian.' ENDS Notes to Editors * Fortnum & Mason have said that they will continue to stock goose foie-gras from France which will still be produced via force-feeding. ** Photos are available from Viva!'s protest. For more information contact Viva!'s Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000. For information on Viva!'s campaign for a 'Foie-gras free Britain', to watch (or request copies) of the group's new campaign film, which destroys the industry's claim of good welfare, call Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or visit www.viva.org.uk/foiegras. A fully referenced fact sheet on foie-gras can be read http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/foiegras/factsheet.html.