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October 9, 2012

Victory for Animal Welfare in China As Official Confirms End to Foie Gras Project

Sir Roger Moore and animal welfare groups stop United Kingdom-based company from profiting from animal cruelty abroad

Humane Society International/United Kingdom

  • Foie gras production is widely condemned for being cruel.

London—Humane Society International, along with animal protection groups in the United Kingdom and China, and global film star Sir Roger Moore, have succeeded in stopping the construction of a massive foie gras production facility in China’s Jiangxi Province. The project was to be financed by UK—registered company Creek Projects Investments Ltd. China’s Central People’s Broadcasting Station, quoting a local government official, confirmed an end to the planned facility.

The proposed foie gras production facility, set to receive a 100 million yuan investment by Creek Projects, would have been one of the largest in the world, designed to produce 1,000 tonnes of foie gras by slaughtering 8 million ducks and 2 million geese each year. Foie gras typically involves force-feeding ducks and geese by placing a long pipe down their throat and pumping large quantities of food directly into their stomachs, several times a day, until their livers become diseased and enlarged up to 10 times their normal size. Foie gras — meaning ‘large liver’ — is considered a delicacy by some.

Humane Society International, Compassion in World Farming and others mounted a campaign to halt construction of the new facility and oppose expansion of China’s growing foie gras industry. In the UK, appeals were sent to the Chinese Embassy in London and Creek Projects Investments in Huntingdon, whilst in China animal campaigners from Green Beagle and Compassion in World Farming held media events and lobbied local officials.

“The abandoning of plans to construct this massive foie gras production facility in China is a great example of animal protection groups across the world using their collective reach to challenge animal cruelty,” said Mark Jones, director of HSI UK. “The forced feeding of birds for foie gras production is illegal in our own country, and the British public will not tolerate investments in such cruel practices by British companies overseas.”

In June, HSI and Compassion led a petition letter to the provincial leaders of Jianxi Province in China, co-signed by Animals Asia Foundation, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the RSPCA, the Hong Kong SPCA and others. Sir Roger Moore also gave his support to the campaign, saying he was “utterly appalled” that a British company was funding animal cruelty in China. “Foie gras is sold as a luxury product but there is nothing luxurious about animal cruelty,” said the James Bond actor.

Foie gras production is widely condemned for being cruel and more than a dozen governments have prohibited this intensive farming practice including the UK, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, the UK, most Austrian provinces, Turkey, Israel and the U.S. state of California. Studies have shown that foie gras production methods cause pain and injury to the animals. Walking and moving becomes increasingly uncomfortable and difficult as their livers enlarge, and force-feeding can also cause painful bruising, lacerations, sores or organ rupture. The birds can also suffer considerable fear and stress during repeated capture and handling.

Joyce D’Silva, ambassador for Compassion in World Farming said: “This is a triumph for animal welfare and campaigners across the globe. Just as cruelty knows no geographical boundaries, neither does compassion and concern for the welfare of animals. By working together, we have proven that animal welfare prevails. Not just in the UK, but universally.”

ENDS

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins, +44(0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

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Humane Society International/UK and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsiuk.org.

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