Foie-gras banMinister ducks the issue
By Justin Kerswell, Campaigns Manager
The front cover and page after full page in the Daily Mirror was our response to a deaf Government that refuses to listen to our calls to ban foie-gras. Despite being so cruel that its production is essentially banned in Britain, it can still be imported. There is no law against foie-gras here but any attempt to force feed ducks would bring a prosecution for animal cruelty. This is why Viva! has launched a campaign to persuade the Government to ban all imports.
During the past 10 years, I have regularly written to ministers
outlining this glaring contradiction. The response has always been the same, regardless of their political party: ‘Yes, of course we would like to ban it but terribly sorry, it would be impossible under world trade rules’. We don’t accept this as things have changed – it can be done and 2014 is the year to do it.
The World Trade Organisation has already confirmed its support for a ban on importing seal products into the EU because of ethical concerns. So, morality can be a valid objection and foie-gras could and should be regarded similarly. There is also an important precedent – five EU member states had the guts to unilaterally ban cat and dog fur before it was officially banned across the entire EU. The seal ban could not be accused of protectionism as no products are made in Europe and the same applies to foie-gras – the UK doesn’t produce it so we can’t be accused of protectionism.
Britain is not the only EU state where there is pressure to ban the importation of foie-gras. Activists in Holland and Scandinavia are also calling for it and it was Viva! and French group L214’s joint exposé of horrific conditions on French foie-gras farms last year that spurred them on. The footage lifted a lid on the obscenities of the force-feeding industry, sent shockwaves across Europe and led to activists securing important victories in their own countries.
Danish animal group Anima used the footage to persuade mega chain Superbest, Europe’s biggest seller of foie-gras, to dump it entirely. More than 2,500 stores across the country have now prohibited its sale. And now our Norwegian friends from NOAH have told us the great news that supermarket chains in Norway are also taking it off the shelves for good!
Things are also changing here in Britain. A tremendous victory came last year when we persuaded Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, to delist dozens of foie-gras products from their British website.
We have lifted a lid on the obscenities of the force-feeding industry
Even more recently, we persuaded Majestic Wines, another large UK online retailer, to stop promoting foie-gras on their website, again using our graphic evidence of the abject cruelty to which ducks are subjected.
And almost every day, we receive news of restaurants taking it off their menus – usually because Viva! supporters have taken the time to contact them. Despite these victories, so long as it is legal to import foie-gras into Britain there will be people willing to sell it. That is why we want to stop it. If you haven’t already given your support to our ban on foie-gras you can do so now on our website www.viva.org.uk/banfoiegras. Or let us know by post.