The French ambassador joined forces with the foie gras trade organizations to fight against a proposed ban on imports into the United Kingdom.
Restrictions on sales of foie gras were set as a target in the Queen’s Speech in May after years of campaigning by animal rights groups, who say force-feeding ducks and geese is barbaric.
No parliamentary action has yet been taken, but the chairman of the foie gras trading body, Cifog, said the industry has received high-level support to ward off any future attempts to limit sales.
Eric Dumas said The connection: âWe are working through the French ambassador and the trade representatives to try to put pressure on the government so that the measure is not introduced.
âThe foie gras is unfairly picked and we invite [UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson and his advisers to come visit us to see for themselves what is going on.
He said the industry, which was hit hard by restaurant closings during last year’s closures and bird flu outbreaks, wanted to send a message: “We’re back, producing delicious food.”
The controversy in the production of fatty liver centers on a practice called force-feeding, where long tubes are pushed down the throats of birds to pump food through the digestive system.
It swells the liver to several times its natural size.
In a letter from a cross-party group of UK MPs, written to ministers in March and calling for a total ban on sales of foie gras in the UK, force-feeding was described as “torture treatment”.
Producers claim that when the tube is inserted correctly, no harm is done and the birds do not suffer.
UK farmers have been banned from producing foie gras under animal welfare legislation since 2006. However, the UK continues to import the product.
Export sales from a major French producer of foie gras to the UK have quintupled to â¬ 50,000 per year since the 2016 EU referendum.
Gilles LeMoine, commercial director of the La Quercynoise cooperative, based in Gramat in the Lot, said: are no longer able to do so and so they are now buying in the UK.
While Brexit has negatively impacted many other foodstuffs, Mr LeMoine said his business is doing well.
âThere is certainly more paperwork, but we are used to doing the paperwork for our other major export markets in the Far East.
“The UK has never been a big market for us – it’s very difficult to get stores to stock foie gras.”
Globally, exports represent 10% of the cooperative’s turnover of 80 million euros per year.
French foie gras producers invite Johnson to visit, don’t limit sales