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UK: Hopes for foie gras ban grow as petition gathers 225,000 signatures
Campaigners are growing increasingly hopeful the Government will move to ban imports of foie gras, after ministers admitted they are “actively considering” further steps to restrict its consumption in the UK. 

After decades of campaigning by animal rights activists, public sentiment is shifting against foie gras production, which is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese.

A petition signed by 225,000 people was delivered to Downing Street yesterday calling on the Government to ban the sale of the foie gras in the UK as soon as possible. 

The petition was backed by celebrities such as actor Joanna Lumley, comedian Ricky Gervais and presenter Alan Carr, while actor Peter Egan and Michelin-starred chef Alexis Gauthier were part of the group handing the petition in to Downing Street. 

Quote:“Hundreds of thousands of UK citizens have joined our call to demand an immediate end to imports of this vile product,” said Jenny Canham of Animal Equality UK, which organised the petition.

“We will not watch on as the Government continues to condone this sickening animal abuse. The time for a ban is now.”

To make foie gras, ducks and geese are force-fed huge amounts of food until their livers become engorged and fatty.

The production of foie gras has been banned in the UK since 2006 on animal welfare grounds, but around 200 tonnes are imported every year from Europe. 

But the traditional delicacy has fallen out of favour with British diners in recent years, with department store Fortnum and Mason stopping sales of the product earlier this summer. 

While the UK was still part of the EU it could not impose an outright ban on foie gras, but now ministers are thought to be actively considering a full ban on its sale in the UK. 

In a letter to Animal Equality sent earlier this week, Defra Minister Lord Goldsmith said the Government is “actively considering” further steps to curb the consumption of imported foie gras.

“We are gathering information and will continue to speak to a range of interested parties about the issues involved”, he said. Details of the Government policy will be published in “due course”, the letter said. 

In response to the petition, a Defra spokesperson said: 

Quote:“There is no doubt that the production of foie gras from ducks or geese using force feeding raises very serious welfare issues. The practice is rightly banned in the UK as it is incompatible with our own welfare standards.

“As an independent nation, we now have the opportunity to go further, and through our Action Plan for Animal Welfare we have committed to looking into a ban on the import or sale of foie gras – and are building an evidence base to inform that decision.”


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