Welfare groups increase pressure on Fortnum & Mason over foie gras

Animal welfare groups have formed a coalition in a bid to oust the upmarket retailer Fortnum & Mason from its Royal Warrants on welfare grounds, following its refusal to discontinue foie gras.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Compassion in World Farming, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, Animal Aid, OneKind, Humane Society International, Viva!, Four Paws, Animal Defenders International and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), are all backing the bid.  

The organisations have claimed that the sale of foie gras goes against the Royal Warrant Holders Association’s sustainability guidelines, “which state that all suppliers should be ‘Red Tractor certified [at] minimum’”.

Foie gras production violates all of the UK’s animal welfare standards, the welfare organisations have argued, and said the production of foie gras was so cruel, it was illegal in the UK.
The organisations also drew on a recent 88-page report issued by the European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare, entitled ‘Welfare Aspects of the Production of Foie Gras in Ducks and Geese’. The report concluded that force-feeding, as currently practised, is detrimental to bird welfare.
“It’s completely obvious to anyone who watches PETA’s harrowing footage of injured birds being force-fed – while they are struggling to breathe because their enlarged livers are pressing against their lungs – that foie gras production doesn’t meet the very basic Red Tractor standards of animal welfare,” said Mimi Bekhechi of PETA. “Fortnum & Mason should either be made to give up its Royal Warrants or do the responsible thing and stop peddling this torture in a tin.”
To produce the foie gras sold at Fortnum & Mason, geese are force-fed several times a day until their livers become diseased and swell to up to 10 times their normal size.

The campaign to stop Fortnum & Mason selling foie gras has received support from actors Ralph Fiennes, Pamela Anderson and Sir Roger Moore, as well as singer Dame Vera Lynn and MP Zac Goldsmith.