Policies to end fur and foie gras imports in the UK did not feature in the Queen’s Speech this year.
While delivered by the Queen (or Prince Charles, as it was today), the UK government writes the Queen’s Speech. It outlines the laws they want to pass and the issues they will prioritize in the coming months.
Two animal-focused bills, including the Animals Abroad Bill and the Kept Animals Bill, would have positioned the UK as a leader against animal cruelty. But, to the dismay of activists and animal lovers, animal protection did not make the speech at all.
Abigail Penny, the executive director of Animal Equality, said the government’s silence on animal rights was “deafening.”
“After years of hints and high hopes for a foie gras ban, the Prime Minister is turning his back on animals and the British public at the eleventh hour,” she continued. “Foie gras is a ‘luxury’ item that the UK public does not support.”
Cruel foie gras
Foie gras is a French delicacy that consists of fatty liver. The production process, which often results in disease and injury, includes the force-feeding of ducks and geese with metal tubes.
On grounds of cruelty, several countries have banned foie gras production. These include Germany, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, and the UK. But in the UK, imports are still legal. In fact, the country imports around 200 tonnes of foie gras every year.
According to data commissioned by several animal rights organizations, including Humane Society International and PETA, nearly three-quarters of voters want to see the UK government pass more animal protection laws.
Opposition from a handful of Conservative MPs caused the Animals Abroad Bill to be paused.
But Penny said that by putting animal welfare on the back burner, the UK government is “ignoring the wishes of the majority.”
She added: “What kind of message is the Government sending to the country and the people it is meant to represent?”
“Animal Equality will continue to defend animals and the British people’s wishes,” she continued. “The Government should know: we will not let this issue drop.”
To support Animal Equality’s mission to end foie gras imports, sign its petition here.