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April 11, 2012

Exposed: British Company Funds Cruel Foie Gras Factory Farm in China

By Mark Jones

  • Ducks and geese are force fed to produce foie gras.

A British company has been exposed by animal protection groups Humane Society International/UK and Compassion in World Farming for funding the development of a massive foie gras factory farm, despite the cruel farming practice being banned in the UK.

It is reported that Creek Projects Investments PLC has invested millions of pounds to build what will become the largest foie gras facility in China, with 15 million geese expected to be delivered over the next five years, according to its website.

The production of foie gras involves force feeding ducks and geese enormous quantities of grain usually using a rigid metal tube forced down their throat, so that their liver becomes excessively fatty and expands to an unnatural size.

This intensive farming practice is widely condemned for being cruel and animal protection laws effectively prohibit the practice throughout much of Europe including the UK, in addition to specific bans in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, the UK, most Austrian provinces, Turkey, Israel and the U.S. state of California.

Foie gras production in China is expanding rapidly, principally to satisfy growing domestic demand from the Chinese middle class for international food. China is fast becoming one of world’s largest consumers and producers of foie gras.

The multi-million dollar production facility is reportedly going to be built on Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake located in the Jianxi province in east-central China. The lake is a vital overwintering habitat for many species of migratory waterfowl, and the only Chinese lake featured in the Global Nature Fund’s Living Lakes project.

So cruel it is effectively banned in the UK

It is utterly disgraceful for a British-based company to be investing in and profiting from intensive foie gras farming that is considered so cruel it is effectively banned in the UK. As well as funding animal cruelty on a massive scale, Creek Projects Investments is also risking polluting an important wetland habitat and creating ideal conditions that could allow the incubation and transmission of bird ‘flu and other serious infectious diseases. From an animal welfare, environmental and human health perspective, this is a disastrous project that should be halted immediately.

Dil Peeling, Director of Public Affairs at Compassion in World Farming commented that “Foie gras production is infamous for its extreme and cruel methods. To learn that a mega-factory farm is to subject a staggering 15 million geese to such medieval practices is deeply disturbing. But the revelation that although the practice is outlawed in the UK, British money is nonetheless being used to drive this venture is an outrage. Creek Projects Investments’ disregard for UK laws its search for investment opportunities is insulting in the extreme.”

HSI/UK and Compassion have written to Creek Projects urging the company to stop funding animal cruelty and are encouraging members of the public to write to the Chinese embassy in the UK to protest the development, and the associated involvement of a British company.

Foie gras production

The production of foie gras usually involves force-feeding ducks and geese by placing a long tube down the birds’ throat and pumping an unnatural quantity of food directly into its stomach. There is substantial scientific evidence to show that these unnatural and intensive production methods cause pain and injury to the animals from feeding tube insertion, fear and stress during capture and handling, gait abnormality due to distended livers, pathologies in liver function, and increased mortality. Research also suggests that foie gras consumption may increase the risk of amyloidosis, a serious disease that can cause a multitude of serious human health problems.

Creek Projects Investments PLC is registered with Companies House, registration number 07830838. Its registered address is in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

The Global Nature Fund’s Living Lakes Project is an international network of currently more than 90 partner lakes on five continents, and supports the sustainable development and the protection of threatened drinking water reserves. See .

Compassion in World Farming was founded over 40 years ago in 1967 by a British farmer who became horrified by the development of modern, intensive factory farming. Today we campaign peacefully to end all cruel factory farming practices. We believe that the biggest cause of animal cruelty on the planet deserves a focused, specialised approach – so we only work on farm animal welfare.

Mark Jones is executive director of Humane Society International/UK.

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