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European MPs call for EU-wide ban on foie gras

Latest update : 2012-10-19

A group of European MPs called on Thursday for a controversial EU-wide ban on the production and sale of foie gras. The famous French delicacy is made by force-feeding ducks and geese, a process described by animal rights groups as "torture".

A group of European lawmakers, including a member from France’s Green Party, have joined animal rights campaigners in a bid to ban the production and sale of the French delicacy foie gras across the European Union.

Foie gras, a popular national dish in France, is made by force-feeding grain to ducks or geese to produce a fatty enlarged liver.

Animal Equality, a pressure group part of an international campaign to "raise awareness on the torture of thousands of ducks and geese on foie gras farms in five EU countries," welcomed the move by eight prominent MEPs that included the Green Party’s Yves Cochet.

The famous French delicacy foie gras
"We want to help European consumers to open their eyes and ask the European Commission (for) a law to ban not only the production, but also the import and sale of foie gras," said Italian MEP Andrea Zanoni.

The MEPs' call for a ban followed a bid by French producers, backed by the country's junior minister for the food industry Guillaume Garot, to defend the gourmet food at the European parliament.

Important industry in France

With some 35,000 people involved in foie gras production, the demand for a ban is unlikely to go down well in France.

French authorities were not amused when California set a precedent by becoming the first state to forbid the consumption of foie gras in July this year.

“Foie gras is an important part of the French gastronomic heritage and it has been recognised as such by UNESCO. There is no reason France should accept this state of affairs,” a French diplomat told Reuters at the time.

Currently, farming of animals to produce foie gras is banned in 22 EU nations - excluding Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Hungary and Spain - but not the import or sale of what campaigners dub as "torture in a tin".

In Britain, former James Bond star Roger Moore has been calling for its ban alongside People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). However, the famous UK store Fortnum & Mason said in October of this year that it will not be “bullied” into stopping the sale of the product, stating that sales of the product had in fact increased 60% since PETA’s campaign began.

(FRANCE 24 with wires) 

Date created : 2012-10-18

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