Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Protestors challenge Michael Caines over restaurants foie-gras dishes

Release date: 
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

RESTAURATEUR Michael Caines will feel the firm hand of consumer pressure this week to remove foie-gras from menus across the country.

Peaceful demonstrations by supporters of vegetarian campaigning group, Viva! are being held on Wednesday (December 10) and on Saturday (December 13) outside premises in Exeter and Manchester city centres.

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.

In Exeter, protestors dressed as "the victims' " an elegantly dressed couple dining at an exclusive restaurant " will be "tied' to their chairs and "force-fed' large quantities of spaghetti through a funnel by a "waiter' to "see how they like it'. A giant duck will take centre stage in Manchester.

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. This is barbarism disguised as a delicacy. We are asking Michael Caines to make an ethical decision and remove it from his menus immediately.'

ENDS

For more information, including photo call details or to request images, contact press officer Helen Rossiter by emailing press@viva.org.uk or Justin Kerswell by emailing justin@viva.org.uk or calling 0117 944 1000.

Notes to Editors

For more information on Viva!'s campaign against the factory farming of ducks, undercover investigations and photos of foie-gras production contact Justin Kerswell 0117 944 1000, email justin@viva.org.uk, or visit http://www.viva.org.uk/foiegras

* Pan-fried foie-gras at Michael Caines, Manchester
http://www.michaelcaines.com/restaurants/Manchester/a-la-carte-menu

* Pan-fried foie-gras at Michael Caines, Exeter
http://www.michaelcaines.com/restaurants/exeter/a-la-carte-menu

During foie-gras production, birds are force fed two or three times daily for two to three weeks until the they develop fatty liver disease. The birds are then slaughtered. Over 90 per cent of the 30 million birds used in foie-gras production each year in France are male ducks. The same number of female ducklings " which are not used in foie-gras production " are either gassed or thrown into electric mincers at a few days old.

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. Its production has also 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!'s long running campaign against the factory farming of ducks has also ended the debeaking of ducks raised for meat. Most recently, Viva! persuaded supermarket chain Lidl to cease the sale of foie-gras last Christmas " and Waitrose have credited Viva! for their decision to allow their own-label ducks access to water for swimming.