Michelin star chef says foie gras is inhumane

22 December 2008

Albert Roux, the French-born Michelin star restaurateur, recently criticised the methods used to produce foie gras and called for a clearer labelling of the product to inform consumers of its effects on geese and ducks.

"It's absolutely fantastic when chefs stand up against foie gras, because it is one of the most inhumane and cruel systems of feeding. It's good when British chefs speak out against foie gras, but a French chef coming out against it is a move forward. We need a clear method of production labelling for all animal products, as we have with eggs, along with greater consumer awareness about what the different systems mean for farm animals", Lasse Bruun, Compassion in World Farming's Head of Campaigns.

To produce foie gras (literally "fat liver"), ducks and geese are force-fed with a long pipe being thrust down their throat. During the force feeding period ducks may be kept in tiny cages where they cannot stand erect, turn round or flap their wings. They can suffer damage to the liver and fear, distress and injuries caused by the force-feeding procedure.

The force-feeding of ducks and geese could and should be replaced by more humane methods in which they are allowed to gorge themselves naturally, leading to a moderate increase in the size of the liver.

A number of countries, including Denmark, Germany, Norway and Poland have legislation specifically prohibiting force-feeding. In the UK and Switzerland general animal protection legislation is interpreted as prohibiting force feeding. So why buy a product that would be illegal to produce in Britain and many other countries in Europe? Labelling should clearly state that foie gras does not respect animal welfare standards and enable the consumer to make an informed choice.

Read more:

Compassion in Word Farming's factsheet on Foie gras ( 89.14KB)

TAKE ACTION

  • When you are shopping or visiting a restaurant, whether at home or abroad, avoid buying or ordering foie gras.
  • If you see a shop/restaurant selling this so called 'luxury', please pass their details to Compassion in World Farming. We will write and ask them to consider withdrawing the product. You may like to write too.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper about the cruelty involved and ask the public to boycott foie gras for these reasons.

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