Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Harvey Nichols Withdraws Foie-Gras "Torture in a Tin"

Release date: 
Friday, August 3, 2007

Campaigning animal group Viva! has congratulated leading luxury lifestyle chain Harvey Nichols for their ethical decision to end the sale of foie-gras in all of their British stores after current stock runs out. The move follows peaceful protests outside both their Manchester and Edinburgh stores by local Viva! groups. Viva! provided the chain with disturbing information showing the inherent cruelty behind its production earlier in the year. Harvey Nichols also quoted declining sales, which Viva! believe shows Britain is on the road to becoming "foie-gras free'. Foie-gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese large amounts of food so that their livers swell to up to 10 times the normal size. A pipe is shoved down the bird's 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. The birds are then slaughtered. Over 90 per cent of birds used in foie-gras production are ducks. Britain is currently one of the largest consumers of foie-gras outside of France, with tons being imported annually. 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. Government minister Ben Bradshaw has encouraged a consumer boycott, and currently 138 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion to ban the sale of foie-gras in the UK*. Its production has been outlawed in Poland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Israel. In 2004, Viva! successfully campaigned in California to pass legislation outlawing both the production and selling of foie-gras. Viva! persuaded supermarket chain Lidl to cease the sale of foie-gras before Christmas. Wholesalers Makro removed foie-gras from sale earlier this month after Viva! contacted them with evidence of cruelty. House of Fraser also bowed to public pressure last month and is also now foie-gras free. Viva!'s long running campaign against the factory farming of ducks has also ended the debeaking of ducks raised for meat " and Waitrose have credited Viva! for their decision to allow their own-label ducks access to water for swimming. 'Foie-gras is torture in a tin', says Viva! Campaigns Manager Justin Kerswell. "There is nothing humane about mechanically inducing disease in a bird by forcing a pipe down its throat and making it consume such an abnormal quantity of food that its liver expands many times its normal size. We welcome Harvey Nichol's ethical decision to not to sell foie-gras " it just shows that you can have luxury without cruelty. Declining sales of foie-gras also show that the British are rejecting this cruel "delicacy' in droves. We ask consumers everywhere to give foie-gras the elbow and go vegetarian.' Notes for Editors For more information on Viva!'s campaign against foie-gras and for hi-res photos, contact Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000, email justin@viva.org.uk, or visit http://www.viva.org.uk/foiegras * http://edmi.parliament.uk/edmi/EDMDetails.aspx'EDMID=33013&SESSION=885 [ends]