Euro Foie Gras shows off its ambitions in the light of EU elections
It was in Plovdiv, a city full of history, that the Euro Foie Gras General Assembly took place on May 20 and 21, 2019. Combining discovery of the region and important decisions for the European foie gras sector, this General Assembly was a success.
Euro Foie Gras members welcomed the record level reached in 2018 by foie gras exports from the 5 European producing countries to third countries. With a turnover of 82 million euros, European exports worldwide rose by 58% in value compared to 2018, especially to Japan. Another reason for satisfaction: in 10 years, Hungary has doubled its internal consumption and increased its exports to neighboring countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Serbia. The key figures of the sector are part of the information that can be found on the new Euro Foie Gras website. Interactive and modern, it gives information on all facets of the sector : waterfowl-based products, the different phases of production and also the numerous commitments of the Federation in terms of quality, health and animal welfare.
The General Assembly made important decisions for the sector. Euro Foie Gras members decided to collect and share forecast data for the production of fat palmipeds. This will be a very useful anticipation tool to help operators make decisions.
In addition, Euro Foie Gras members wish to work collectively, with the support of an independent research organization, on common animal welfare indicators and their regular monitoring. It may be recalled that Euro Foie Gras has had since 2011 a European Charter on breeding of waterfowl for foie gras, which sets out the commitments that must govern the production already subject to European legislation on animal welfare.
The General Assembly was punctuated by visits to a foie gras farm as well as a feather and down upgrading plant. « European voters will go to the polls in a few days. By making strong decisions in Plovdiv, the European Capital of Culture this year, we are participating in our own way in building the European Union », concluded Christophe Barrailh, President of Euro Foie Gras.
The Euro Foie Gras General Assembly will meet in the European Capital of Culture
A must for European gastronomy, foie gras will be perfectly represented in this magnificent Bulgarian city, which is recognized for its authenticity and cultural heritage. Bulgaria is currently the 2nd largest European producer of duck foie gras with 2800 tonnes produced in 2018.
The General Assembly will be the opportunity to gather friends of foie gras to review the past year and future perspectives on various topics: European elections, health and animal welfare, communication strategy etc. A visit of the city as well as a breeding will also be organized.
This attractive program will allow participants to meet for two days around the foie gras in a cultural and friendly place, in perfect harmony with the vision of Euro Foie Gras.
Stop misinformation on foie gras production
Since its creation in 2008, Euro Foie Gras has been proud to promote the profession of foie gras producer, foie gras being a star dish of the gastronomic heritage of our continent. The continuous exchange of experiences and know-how within the federation is and will remain of paramount importance for the sector, as well as the awareness raising of policy makers to the issues the sector deals with.
Euro Foie Gras has always encouraged constructive dialogue on production conditions, biosafety standards, quality criteria and any other subject of interest to the federation. Euro Foie Gras has also always been open to critics which are an integral part of the democratic debate.
Nevertheless, we must not confuse on the one hand, criticism and rational questioning with regard to an agricultural sector or any other economic activity, and, on the other hand, actions of misinformation based on false statements and truncated images. The digital age unfortunately generates a favorable environment for sensational publications from associations that cultivate a conflictual relationship with reality on the ground and often exploit the public’s lack of knowledge about the production of foie gras.
Ban of assisted-feeding in Flanders
The European Foie Gras Federation – Euro Foie Gras – would like to express its deep indignation regarding the adoption by the Flemish Parliament (Belgium) on Wednesday 13 March 2019 of a decree banning fattening in the production of foie gras.
Euro Foie Gras denounces a vote based on a lack of knowledge on the production process and prejudices, in particular those generated by erroneous ideas and images deliberately disseminated by animal activists.
Belgium is a foie gras producing country with farms spread all over the country. Belgians, 2nd largest consumers of foie gras in Europe after France with 90 grams per inhabitant per year, appreciate this quality dish. Many Belgian chefs work on this exceptional product, which is part of the gastronomic heritage in France and Hungary.
Why did elected officials want to deprive their fellow citizens of the choice of being able to consume a local and high-quality product when foie gras comes from traditional know-how practiced with control and respect for animal welfare? Euro Foie Gras would like to remind you that ducks live 90% of their lives outdoors before the fattening phase, which lasts between 10 and 14 days, with two meals a day. The fattening phase is only possible because foie gras palmipeds have the natural ability to store fat in order to be able to carry out long migratory journeys. The meal is only administered after checking that the animal has digested its previous meal.
“It is absolutely scandalous that public money is used to stop a perfectly legal activity! And this only in order to serve political ambitions, as this strangely ideal timing shows! [Next regional elections will take place in May 2019 in Belgium and animal welfare is a regional competence ed.] “said Christophe Barrailh, President of Euro Foie Gras.
The idea that foie gras production is contrary to animal welfare is also totally unfounded. The compatibility of assisted feeding with the welfare of palmipeds is demonstrated by a series of independent studies, constantly ignored by those who misinform the general public by leading them into an anthropomorphic perception of the animal, whereas the latter, although sentient, remains nevertheless different from human beings because of its particular anatomical characteristics: absence of glottis and elastic oesophagus which can stretch without any suffering. Belgian producers set an example in terms of animal welfare, their good practices being certified by public services. They therefore do not understand this persecution of their production when their animals enjoy a level of welfare that meets the most demanding criteria in the world.
Euro Foie Gras would like to express its full support for Filip Callemeyn, the only producer of foie gras palmipeds in Flanders, and strongly denounces this decision, which will deprive him and his wife of an activity in which they have invested their time and passion for over 20 years. In love with his profession and proud of his farm, Filip organizes several times a year visits and festive events to introduce the general public to the reality of his work. Unfortunately, his seriousness and rigorous deontology did not protect him from defamatory attacks from associations quicker to take media action than to study the reality on the ground, or from pre-election demagogic initiatives.
While reiterating its indignation at the recent Flemish decree, Euro Foie Gras will continue to provide transparent and accurate information on how foie gras is produced and will also continue to promote the profession of foie gras producer in Belgium and throughout Europe.
– Z Erisir & al. 2009, “Effect of different housing systems on growth and welfare of Pekin ducks”, Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 8(2).
– MS Dawkins, 2012, “Commercial scale research and assessment of poultry welfare”, British Poultry Science
– E Baéza & collab., 2005, “Canards de Barbarie, Pékin et leurs hybrides: aptitude à l’engraissement », INRA Productions
– P. Chartrin & collab.,2004, « Effet du génotype et du gavage sur les dépôts de lipides intramusculaires dans le filet de canard », Viandes et Produits Carnés, Hors-série des 10e Journées des Sciences du Muscle et Technologies des Viandes »