Amazon agrees to stop selling foie gras on UK website
Amazon has bowed to pressure from animal welfare campaigners and decided to stop selling ‘cruel’ foie gras on its British website.
The product, which comes from ducks and geese that are force fed to make their livers grow to a large an unnatural size, has been added to a list of prohibited items.
It is highly prized by some food lovers and celebrity chefs, such as Gordon Ramsay, who have included it on their menus for many years.
However, earlier this year the animal welfare campaigners at the Viva! group petitioned Amazon to stop selling the delicacy on the grounds of the cruelty involved in its production.
It presented Amazon with video evidence of the suffering caused by its production and a petition signed by over 10,000 opponents of the trade.
The campaign followed an investigation in France which showed shocking images of force feeding at a farm that supplied products sold through Amazon.
Footage from a farm belonging to a producer called Labeyrie showed distressing scenes of ducks being given huge amounts of grain with pneumatic pumps.
These birds were seen in group cages where an automatic bar pins the ducks to the floor to prevent them avoiding being force fed.
Production of foie gras is illegal in the UK as it would break existing animal welfare law, however it is not against the law to sell imported products.
Before the ban, the UK Amazon Marketplace grocery section offered more than 100 products containing foie gras, including 75g cans for £15. Both Amazon and third party retailers sold the controversial food.
Justin Kerswell, campaigns manager at Viva!, said: ‘Foie gras is mostly produced by imprisoning birds in cages so tiny they can’t move, by forcing a pipe down their throats and force feeding them until their livers swell to ten times their natural size.
‘I can’t imagine why anyone would want to eat it – or be involved in its sale. It is quite simply torture in a tin. There is nothing humane about mechanically inducing disease in a bird.’
He described Amazon’s decision to stop selling it as ‘an incredible victory’ for anyone who cares about the welfare of animals.
Mr Kerswell said: ‘Amazon should be congratulated for taking an ethical lead by delisting foie gras in the UK, but we hope that ethical stance is expanded worldwide.
‘This is a perfect example that consumer pressure does work, even with corporate giants such as Amazon.
‘We will be extending our campaign to other online retailers, such as eBay. We must not lose sight of the fact that foie gras is a peculiarly un-British cruelty.
‘It would be illegal to produce in Britain and causes untold suffering to millions of birds every year in France and other countries that produce it.’
The organisation is calling on the UK government to ban imports.
The campaign against foie gras, which also includes the PETA organisation, has gathered a host of celebrity backers, including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Roger Moore and Brigit Bardot.
Amazon did not respond to a request to explain why it had decided to ban the product. A spokesman said: ‘All sellers on Amazon.co.uk Marketplace must adhere to our guidelines in relation to the products that they make available for sale on our website.’
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