Chris Packham has urged newly-appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss not to “betray animals suffering for fur and foie gras” in a petition taken to Downing Street this week.
The petition, which has garnered more than 300,000 signatures since Packham started it earlier this year, was taken to the Prime Minister’s residence by animal organizations Humane Society International (HSI) UK, FOUR PAWS UK, and PETA. They also brought a digital ad van, which screened footage of conditions on fur and foie gras farms.
It was announced earlier this week that the Animals Abroad Bill had been scrapped by the new government.
The bill would have made it illegal for the UK to import fur and foie gras from other countries, while also banning imports of parts of animals killed in trophy hunts.
“There is no place in modern Britain for fur or foie gras, both of which are products of appalling cruelty,” Packham said in a statement.
“We don’t allow the freedom of choice to import elephant ivory, or whale meat, or seal, dog or cat fur, because all these things are unutterably immoral. So too is causing animals enormous pain and suffering for frivolous fur and foie gras.”
Claire Bass, executive director of HSI UK, said that banning imports of fur and foie gras would be an “opportunity to reassure people that the government’s trade strategy has a moral compass, in line with voters’ expectations.”
The cruelty of fur and foie gras
Fur and foie gras are hugely controversial among the general public; 77 percent of Brits believe imports should be banned.
It is already illegal to create the products within the UK.
Each year, around 100 million animals – including minks, foxes, raccoons, dogs, and rabbits – are killed for their fur. More than 95 percent of fur comes from animals raised on farms, where they often spend their entire lives in cramped cages.
They will often be killed in “inhumane” ways to preserve the quality of their fur, with gassing and head-to-tail electrocution common methods for slaughter.
Foie gras is the name given to a pâté made from the enlarged liver of a goose. It’s created with a process called gavage, which entails force-feeding the birds, often by shoving a tube down their throats two or three times a day.
In May 2021, the UK government – at the time led by Boris Johnson – introduced an “Action Plan For Animal Welfare.” This contained plans to introduce a number of pieces of legislation that would supposedly better the lives of animals both in the country and abroad.
While the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill – which recognized lobsters, crabs, and other crustaceans as capable of pain – came into law in April, much of the plan looks set to be abandoned.
As well as the Animals Abroad Bill, there are rumors that the Kept Animals Bill, which would ban live exports for fattening and slaughter, will be abandoned too.
Lorraine Platt, Co-Founder of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, previously told Plant Based News (PBN) that she was “disappointed” to hear the rumors.
“We hope that the new Government will reconsider dropping these proposals, which are widely popular with voters and the public at large,” she added.