Harvey Nichols half measures on foie gras

07 August 2007

The upmarket food and fashion department store Harvey Nichols has decided to stop selling foie gras in its food halls, but will continue to serve it to customers in its restaurants.

Harvey Nichols announced its decision to stop selling foie gras when current stocks run out following a campaign by Viva. However, a spokesman for the chain said that its restaurants would not be bound by the decision. The company which has stores in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Dublin is leaving it up to individual chefs to decide whether to include foie gras in their menus.

Gill Sanders, Head of Campaigns at Compassion in World Farming, said: "Harvey Nichols claimed its decision to stop selling foie gras was based on commercial considerations. It makes no sense to continue serving this cruelly produced food in its restaurants.

"We urge all retailers and restaurants to remove foie gras from their shelves and menus. Ducks and geese suffer appalling cruelty to make this luxury food and there are humane alternatives available."

Over the past six months CIWF and its supporters have written to hundreds of restaurants and shops in the UK, asking them to stop selling foie gras.

Major UK supermarkets have already stopped selling foie gras in response to consumer concerns. These include Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrison, Co-op, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Safeway, Somerfield, Lidl and Makro. They were recently joined by the up-market department store chain House of Fraser.

Foie gras is still sold by Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, Selfridges and Caviar House.

To make foie gras, which means "fatty liver", ducks and geese are force-fed until their livers swell to 6-10 times their normal size. Many of these birds are kept confined in cages throughout the force-feeding period.

The birds are restrained and grain is forced down their throats through a tube, commonly by pneumatic pump. The swollen liver can make walking and breathing difficult and internal wounds caused by the feeding tube are common.

Foie gras is not produced in the UK although many shops and restaurants import and sell it. In Europe its production is currently widespread, predominantly in France, but also in Belgium, Hungary and Bulgaria.

ACTION:

Write a polite letter to Harvey Nichols praising the decision to stop selling foie gras in its food halls, and urging them to go the whole way and take it off the menu in its restaurants. Send it to contactus@harveynichols.com or Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ.

If you see a shop or restaurant selling foie gras, please pass the details to CIWF. We will write to ask them to stop using it.


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