Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Foie-gras campaign history

Viva! has already scored some major victories! In the past seven years Viva! has printed and - working with local activists - distributed almost half a million anti foie-gras leaflets across the UK!

Viva!USA was instrumental in getting a bill passed that banned the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie-gras in California​. 

Most recently our undercover team exposed the supplier of chef Gordon Ramsay and persuaded Amazon - the world's biggest online retailer - to stop selling foie-gras.

An overview of the campaign history 2013-2007

 
  Viva!'s campaign has made the front pages

In 2013, Viva!’s  foie-gras campaign makes the front page of the Daily Mirror, when they publish the results of our investigation into foie-gras producer Ernest Soulard – who supplied Gordon Ramsay (the chef quickly dumps that supplier and we send him thousands of supporter postcards asking him to stop serving all foie-gras).

The Mirror put video of the undercover footage on their website and our own shocking video is seen by over 80,000 people on Youtube. It is followed up by days of high profile coverage in this popular national paperwhich leads to widespread condemnation and support for Viva!’s campaign by Bill Oddie.

Viva!’s foie-gras campaign was also covered by Mirror affiliates in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Plus papers and TV in Norway, Sweden and Denmark covered the story. In light of this, Denmark’s top chef dumped it. Plus all Danish supermarkets stop its sale and a major supplier in that country washed its hands of foie-gras after dealing with it since the 1970s. Retail chains in Norway also dumped foie-gras. Across Britain, restaurants fall over themselves to erase it from their menus.

 
  Viva!’s campaign will make a difference to millions of birds currently suffering the torture of forced feeding

In light of the Viva! victory against Amazon we launch a campaign to stop eBay selling foie-gras. Viva! patron Jenny Seagrove gives the campaign her backing again in the Daily Mirror. Also, BBC’s Masterchef confirm that they will not use foie-gras.

In 2012, Bristol garden centre drops foie-gras after Viva! supporter contacts them. Just one of hundreds that has used our materials to help make Britain foie-gras free. We reveal that Prince Harry attended a dinner in Jamaica where foie-gras was served. Viva! launches an on-going campaign to persuade the BBC to dump foie-gras from its cookery shows.​ We hold a demonstration outside Hobbs House in Chipping Sodbury. Calling on them to drop foie-gras from sale (which they do).

California officially implements a ban on the sale of foie-gras! Viva!USA was at the forefront of the campaign, and was one of the four groups that sponsored the original bill that led to then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger agreeing to a ban.

 
  Viva! campaigns for a political and trade ban on the production and sale of foie-gras with other groups

Our major Christmas campaign is to highlight the suffering of the foie-gras birds called Caged for Christmas. Supporters door-drop tens of thousands of leaflets and hold peaceful demos across the country. To date Viva! have printed nearly half a million foie-gras leaflets!

Our targeted local campaigning has already seen many newspapers covering the issue, and has been instrumental in getting restaurants to end the sale of foie-gras - including making Petersfield a foie-gras free zone! This important campaign has attracted national, international and local media (which includes The People, The Daily Mail, The Sunday Telegraph and The Evening Standard) - which is important in educating the public to not buy it.

In 2011, Thomson Cruises agreed to take foie-gras off the menu after we sent them infomation on the cruelty involved in its production. Bath council also banned foie-gras from their properties after a campaign by local group Bath Animal Action, which was supported by Viva!. 

 
  Targeted local and national media attention gets foie-gras suffering onto the agenda

We also produced a hard hitting new on-line film The Wonderful World of Gavage, which demolishes the lies and mistruths perpetuated by the industry. So far, Viva! has printed around half a million of our foie-gras leaflets, which have been distributed right across the UK by local activists!

In 2009, Selfridges in London finally took foie-gras off the shelves after a long-running campaign by Viva! and other animal organisations. Also, 'Torture in a tin' came off the political menu in Scotland after assurances were made that guests of the First Minister, Alex Salmond, would no longer be served foie-gras. This move comes after Viva!'s exposé with The Sunday Times, and follows pressure from Viva! supporters who wrote to the First Minister. A great success and a strike against the endemic cruelty of foie-gras.

In 2008, our campaign garnered even more support from unlikely bedfellows Prince Charles and London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who were united in their opposition to foie-gras and support for the foie-gras birds! Prince Charles' support made headlines around the world. Viva! patron Wendy-Turner Webster - and her actor husband Gary Webster - also hit the headlines as Wendy petitioned her home council to ban foie-gras. The result was that many places in Staffordshire couldn't get it off the menu quick enough!Josef Brown (Dirty Dancing), Heather Mills and a host of indie pop stars join the condemnation.

Christmas 2007 saw Viva! hold one of our national Day of Actions. Hundreds of people took part, with many thousands of postcards sent and there were peaceful protests outside of restaurants and establishments selling this delicacy of despair right across the country. Positive feedback showed that many bowed to consumer pressure and have taken foie-gras off the shelves - for good!  Those that haven't are finding that ethical consumers are avoiding them like the plague - and thanks to Viva! supporters there's more ethical consumers out there than ever before.

 
  We hold peaceful demos outside places that sell foie-gras and help local people to do likewise with free materials

Our giant duck mascot Jake (fighting for bird justice everywhere!) took to the streets and made flying protests to places selling foie-gras in Exeter (Michael Caines), Manchester (Selfridges), London (Fortnum & Mason - which dropped duck foie-gras soon after!), as well as petitioning the people of Bath to drop foie-gras. Jake was also present in Bristol when we launched our campaign to persuade the council to follow the leads of York and Bolton by going foie-gras free (find out how you can persuade your council here). 

Just before Christmas 2006, Viva! persuaded supermarket chain Lidl to stop selling foie-gras in all its stores in the UK. In 2007, Viva! was alarmed to hear that the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation was planning to serve foie-gras at its annual gala dinner. The horrible irony (foie-gras is diseased liver) didn’t escape us, and it didn’t escape the charity once we pointed it out to them. The result, foie-gras was dropped from the menu! Campaigning by Viva! and other organisations has now seen wholesaler Makro, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols all drop this cruel product. UK outlets are now falling like dominos.

In 2004, Viva!USA was instrumental in getting a bill passed that banned the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie-gras in California. The bill also bans the sale of the product when made from force fed birds, both provisions took effect in 2012.

The fight for a foie-gras free Britain goes on. We must continue to produce leaflets and cards for people to show their disgust to hand into local eateries and shops, undertake more undercover investigations and it is essential we reach every media outlet to expose this trade for exactly what it is – animal abuse disguised as culture.​ 

To keep fighting for these tortured birds we need your help. Please donate to the campaign so that we can print materials and campaign effectively – and help the campaign by getting active.