Stop misinformation: A UK ban on foie gras imports would threaten consumers’ freedom

Brussels, 19 May 2021 – The European Federation of Foie Gras (Euro Foie Gras) is deeply concerned by the UK government’s plan to ban foie gras imports and trade under the Action Plan for Animal Welfare. Foie gras is a high-quality product which complies with all EU standards regarding animal health and welfare. The UK government should base its decision on scientific facts and field practice rather than on emotional opinions.

Foie gras production is not cruel. The anatomical characteristics of ducks and geese cannot be compared to humans. These animals have no glottis but an elastic oesophagus that can expand like a snake, allowing them to swallow all kinds of prey such as fish or frogs. Assisted feeding is fully adapted to the fat palmipeds’ physiology and is performed by trained professionals. As such, it does not cause any suffering to these animals, as confirmed by scientific studies[1].

Moreover, European foie gras producers have decided to go beyond their legal obligations by adopting a European Charter on Breeding of Waterfowl for Foie Gras[2].

Ensuring high quality living conditions is a daily concern for any breeders of fat palmipeds. Animals being bred outdoor 90% of their life and free-range farming is the DNA of the foie gras production and a prerequisite to obtain a quality product.

The ban proposal clearly shows a lack of understanding of our practices. Has any UK policy maker ever been to a foie gras farm and seen the rearing conditions in practice? Euro Foie Gras is happy to invite them”, says Christophe Barrailh, Euro Foie Gras President.

Furthermore, a ban on foie gras in the UK would threaten the consumers’ freedom to choose what they want to purchase, and we believe that British citizens should be entitled to consume foie gras if they enjoy it. These developments are all the more surprising given the importance the UK attaches to these freedoms.

Consequently, Euro Foie Gras firmly condemns the current projects to ban foie gras trade and imports in the UK, which are totally unjustified from an animal welfare and an economic perspective.

For these reasons, the Federation calls upon the UK’s government to continue importing foie gras, a traditional European gastronomic delicacy, and to fully respect the freedom of choice of British consumers.

[1] Scientific studies have been synthetised by the scientists Gérard Guy (INRA) and Xavier Fernandez (ENSAT) in a document written in October 2013.

[2]The “European Charter on breeding of waterfowl for foie gras”, signed by the representatives of all the foie gras producing countries in the EU, contains the commitments that must govern this farming activity in the spirit of the 12 principles retained in the “Welfare Quality Project”: