New UK Cabinet Scraps Plans To Ban Foie Gras And Fur Imports

Could other animal welfare-related bans be at risk too?


3 Minutes Read

minks on a fur farm The UK will continue to allow imports from fur farms - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

A bill that would have put an end to foie gras and fur imports in the UK has been scrapped.

Opposition from a minority of Conservative MPs put pause on the Animals Abroad Bill in May. But following her appointment as the new PM, Liz Truss has ditched the plans completely. 

The animal welfare about-turn places other proposed bans in jeopardy as well. 

Politico reported that the bans on live animal exports for slaughter and the import of hunting trophies now both hang in the balance. The current cabinet has identified both as post-Brexit revenue “opportunities.”

The downturn in animal fortunes comes after Truss fired environment minister Zac Goldsmith amid an administrative reshuffle. Goldsmith had been pressing for increased animal rights, in line with public opinion on items such as foie gras and fur.

New PM taking a soft line on animal cruelty

Had the fur and foie gras import bans been upheld and mentioned in the Queen’s Speech in May, the UK would have been a world leader in animal rights and welfare reforms. However, self-proclaimed cat-lover Truss has chosen to renege on the promises of Johnson.

A growing body of research demonstrates irrefutable evidence of the sentience of animals. Such data led to octopuses, lobsters, and crabs being legally declared sentient. (However, this still does not protect them from live boiling.)

Truss’ anti-animal welfare stance is well documented. 

She actively opposed the UK ban on fox hunting and in 2016, attempted to scrap statutory farm welfare codes, unsuccessfully. Most recently, she promoted MP Mark Spencer to a position within the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. It followed his role in facilitating continued elephant torture overseas.

Cruel consumer products

Foie gras and fur both cause untold suffering to animals.

To make foie gras, producers routinely force-feed ducks and geese using metal tubes. The birds are fattened up as quickly as possible, then killed for their engorged livers, which often swell to ten times their normal size. 

According to estimates, around one million birds die in the foie gras industry every year.

Animals farmed for fur fare no better. Bred into captivity or captured, animals are kept in squalid conditions that are ripe for zoonotic disease transmission. As a result, many animals resort to self-mutilation.

Many of the 100 million animals farmed for fur each year are gassed and electrocuted, to keep pelts intact. Some facilities still practice live skinning.

The UK government is expected to propose that the import of fur products and foie gras is allowed, with “appropriate” labeling. Such markers would highlight processes used to make the items. 

“Banning things seems very socialist. Informing people is the way to go,” an unnamed senior Conservative told Politico.

A ban still remains on the production of both fur and foie gras in the UK.

“Importing fur and foie gras is contradictory to our domestic laws. The UK banned fur and foie gras farms in 2000 and 2006 respectively, on the grounds of the clear and unacceptable cruelty involved in production,” Lorraine Platt, co-founder of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation told Plant Based News

“If the UK believes that fur and foie gras is too cruel to be farmed here, by extension it is too cruel to sell here. We hope the new government ends this senseless contradiction, which will send a clear message that such imports are unacceptable.”

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