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Celebrities Joanna Lumley, Peter Egan and Steven Berkoff have teamed up with leading international animal protection organisation Animal Equality to demand the Government pledges to ban imports of foie gras after Brexit.
In addition, Members of Parliament [MPs] from all parties, also back the initiative.
Foie gras is a ‘delicacy’ made from the diseased livers of ducks or geese who have been repeatedly force-fed.
It is illegal to produce foie gras in Britain because of the extreme suffering caused by this brutal process – known as ‘gavage’.
However, almost 200 tons of foie gras are imported from mainland Europe every year for sale in shops such as Harrods and Fortnum & Mason and the menus of high-end restaurants.
A YouGov poll conducted last month showed only a tiny minority of Brits consumed foie gras in the past 12 months – only seven per cent – and an overwhelming majority support an import ban – 77 per cent of those who expressed an opinion.
Dr Toni Shephard, UK Executive Director of Animal Equality, said: “Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to rid Britain of this extraordinarily cruel product.
“Our national laws rightly declare foie gras production too inhumane to take place on our shores, yet we still allow it to be imported and sold. For the sake of the thousands of ducks and geese still suffering on European foie gras farms, this hypocrisy has to end.”
Over the years, Animal Equality has investigated a number of foie gras farms in France and Spain, filming undercover footage showing extreme suffering and death in every single one.
Shephard says: “We are now asking all British animal lovers to add their name to our petition calling for a #FoieGrasFreeGB.”
These views are shared by some of Britain’s best known animal advocates, who are lending their support to Animal Equality’s campaign.
Actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley says: “Foie gras production was banned in the UK because it is so cruel. Why then do we still import tonnes of it every year? This must be banned as soon as possible following our exit from the EU.”
Peter Egan, known to many for his role on Downton Abbey, as well as his work for animals, adds: “The cruel and horrible way Foie Gras is produced by literally stuffing a poor duck or goose with grain until its liver becomes diseased and swells to bursting is disgusting to contemplate.
“We banned its production in the UK because it’s cruel. Now lets ban the importation of this cruel product. Make the UK Foie Gras Free!”
Actor Steven Berkoff says: “We must ban the importation of foie gras to cut off this disgusting and obscene abuse of birds to satisfy this disgusting and obscene decadence.”
A number of cross party MPs have also lent their support to the campaign, with Labour MP Chris Williamson, saying: “We are a nation of animal lovers and have rightly already banned the production of foie gras on our shores because of the extreme suffering it causes to ducks and geese.
“If exiting the EU will provide us the opportunity to ban the importation of this cruel product then the Government should do so.”
Henry Smith, Conservative MP, adds: “The production of foie gras is rightly banned in the UK but, whilst sill EU members, unfortunately we can’t yet ban its import. A real animal welfare opportunity to impose a ban on this cruel practice when Brexit is complete can be realised and I call on the Government to act at the earliest possible time.”
Caroline Lucas, Green MP, says: “We have rightly already banned the production of foie gras in Britain because of the extreme suffering it causes to ducks and geese. Exiting the EU gives us the opportunity to ban the importation of this cruel product and make Britain foie-gras free – the Government must act now.”
You can sign the petition here.