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‘National Treasure’ Bill Oddie OBE has taken a petition with 70,000 signatures backing a foie gras import ban post-Brexit to Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
The move is part of a campaign backed by celebrities and MPs, including Ricky Gervais, Chris Packham, Evanna Lynch and Peter Egan.
Oddie handed over the petition to mark one year – to the day – until the UK exits the European Union.
The campaign is being co-ordinated by leading international animal protection agency Animal Equality – which has documented the extreme suffering of ducks and geese on dozens of foie gras farms in France and Spain.
The group launched the petition in June 2017 after a YouGov poll found overwhelming support for a UK import ban on foie gras – 77 percent of those who expressed an opinion.
Foie gras production causes immense suffering. (Video: Animal Equality)
Bird enthusiast Bill Oddie OBE said: “Whenever Britons call themselves ‘a nation of animal lovers’ I have assumed this means that we prefer our creatures healthy, well cared for and – in most cases – alive.
“There are few more grotesquely cruel so-called ‘traditions’ than the production of foie gras, which entails what amounts to prolonged torture of living geese and ducks.
“We may not produce it in Britain, but we certainly consume it. You can buy foie gras in Britain’s affluent food stores and expensive restaurants. It is often referred to as a ‘gourmet delicacy’. It is, in fact, an abomination. Definitely NOT the food of a nation of animal lovers.”
Naturalist Chris Packham, who is also supporting the campaign, said: “To imagine so many ducks and geese enduring a lifetime of cruelty and misery so a few people can eat a pate made from their diseased liver is mind-blowing, and terribly sad. UK imports of foie gras must be banned.”
Vegan actor Evanna Lynch urged her Instagram followers to sign the petition, saying: “Foie Gras is a brutally cruel practice that needs to be stopped!”
Comedian Ricky Gervais also encouraged his fans to support the campaign and generated nearly 25,000 signatures in 72 hours.
These celebrity supporters join actors Joanna Lumley, Peter Egan and Steven Berkoff who helped launch the campaign in June along with MPs Henry Smith, Chris Williamson and Caroline Lucas.
Animal Equality is still collecting signatures – you cansign the petition here