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France

Brigitte Bardot asks EU to ban French favourite foie gras

© AFP archive picture | A French farmer force-feeding a duck

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2014-12-24

French film star and celebrity animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has appealed to the European Union to ban the “barbaric practice” of force-feeding ducks and geese to make seasonal delicacy foie gras.

According to the Fondation Brigitte Bardot, the 80-year-old former movie icon has the support of Danish Agriculture Minister Dan Jorgensen who has lodged a formal appeal with the EU Commission to impose a ban.

In an open letter to the EU’s Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, Bardot pointed out that a number of EU states had already banned force-feeding of animals, and it was “time to harmonise laws against this cruel and barbaric practice which goes against European values of promoting animal welfare.”

Foie Gras, which translates as “fat liver”, is protected under French law as “belonging to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France”. France produces around 80 percent of the world’s foie gras.

Denmark, Germany and Finland have banned force-feeding, or “gavage”, which involves introducing a tube into the throat of ducks and geese to force an unnaturally large high-starch mixture into their stomachs.

In 2012, California banned both the production and sale of the delicacy.

Foie Gras, a traditional part of French Christmas fare, remains hugely popular in France, even if a majority of the population disapproves of the gavage process.

An OpinionWay poll in December showed that 47 percent of French people polled – and 57 percent of women – were against force-feeding of animals, although just 27 percent said they would refuse to buy foie gras on ethical grounds.

Date created : 2014-12-24

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