Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Foie gras off: ADI tells Ramsay to take cruelty off the menu

Posted: 13 November 2006


Sponsor of Gordon Ramsay’s latest series of ‘The F-Word’ on Channel 4’s digital channel More4, Tio Pepe has produced an ad at the start of the programme with the slogan ‘Foie Gras without Tio Pepe?’ The implication is that you cannot consume one without the other. Animal Defenders International, which has waged a campaign to extend prohibition on force-feeding across Europe, has condemned the inappropriate ad.

Jan Creamer, chief executive of ADI said: “I have witnessed this appalling cruelty. ADI carried out an investigation into the production of foie gras and the findings were horrendous. To produce this ‘delicacy’ up to 6lbs of ground maize is forced down the throats of geese and ducks over two or three weeks. The bird’s liver becomes so enlarged it can weigh up to 1,300 grammes when a normal liver weighs around 120 grammes. ADI is calling on Gordon Ramsay to dissociate himself with such unspeakable practices and to encourage his fellow chefs to do the same.”

The European Union’s Scientific Committee on Animal Welfare has concluded that force-feeding is detrimental to the welfare of the birds. Force-feeding is banned in Poland, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Norway. Legislation in the UK and in Switzerland is interpreted as a ban on force-feeding.

In the programme, ‘The F-Word’ amateur chefs are challenged to cook in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant kitchen and the food prepared is judged by the people eating in the restaurant. If they don’t enjoy the meal then they do not have to pay. There are often celebrity guests invited to cook a meal and sample the food such as Dermot O’Leary and Jonathon Ross.

Gordon Ramsay has already been the subject of much controversy this year regarding animal welfare for slaughtering his two pigs ‘Trinny’ and Suzanna’ on TV and making them into sausages in his restaurant. He also promoted veal consumption on television with the aide of fellow celebrity Janet Street Porter. In October, Gordon was injured while taking up the cruel sport of bull fighting in Spain when filming his show, then told of how his private parts had been bruised.

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Foie Gras Facts

  • Foie gras is promoted as a high quality, speciality, gourmet product, however it is highly controversial on animal welfare grounds and its production is opposed by a great number of animal welfare organisations worldwide.
  • By the time of slaughter, the birds are being force fed up to 6lbs of food each day – the equivalent of a person eating 28lbs of cooked spaghetti a day. 1.8 million children could be fed on the grain used to produce 197.5 tonnes of foie gras in France alone. ( )
  • Production methods of foie gras involve eighty per cent of ducks or geese being kept in tiny wire cages or over-crowded sheds. They are force-fed steaming maize and fat straight to their stomachs via a funnel with a handle attached to a grinder that is turned to help push the maize down the tube. This is repeatedly shoved down their throats two or three times a day. The bird’s livers become diseased and swell up to ten times their normal size. Many birds become too sick to stand up. The pipes themselves often puncture the bird’s throats as they are forced down and this can sometimes cause them to bleed to death. ( )
  • It is the fate of some 25 million ducks & geese in France; some is produced by the traditional method described above, the majority by factory-farming method. Since 1990 France’s foie gras output has doubled. France is the world’s largest producer, but others include Hungary, Belgium, Bulgaria, Lithuania, China, Romania and the USA. The UK imports between 25-50 tonnes of foie gras a year.
  • There are currently laws in at least 14 countries which prohibit the force feeding of ducks and geese to make Foie Gras. ( )
  • In some countries the law is explicit and specifically bans the force feeding of ducks and geese. In other countries such as the UK the general animal welfare laws are interpreted to achieve a ban on the practice of force feeding. ( )
  • The following Countries/States have explicit bans against force feeding: California, Chicago, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Turkey.
  • The following countries have general animal welfare laws which are interpreted to achieve a ban: Holland, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (
  • In the UK it is the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 (made July 2000) which states;
  • Animals shall be fed a wholesome diet which is appropriate to their age and species and which is fed to them in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health, to satisfy their nutritional needs and to promote a positive state of well-being.
  • No animals shall be provided with food or liquid in a manner, nor shall such food or liquid contain any substance, which may cause them unnecessary suffering or injury.
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    • In August 2006 Chicago became the first city in America to ban the sale of Foie Gras within city limits. (
    • Vets condemn foie gras – In 1998 the European Scientific Committee on Animal Health & Welfare (SCAHAW) concluded that force-feeding, as currently practised is ‘detrimental to the welfare of the birds’. They recommended that no process be used result in an increase in liver size such that its function causes increased mortality, pain or distress.

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