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Something to give up, but not just for Lent

16 March 2011


From the Bishop of Monmouth

Sir, — Lent is a time when Christians are encouraged to think about what they eat, and to fast or abstain from their favourite foods. We are also encouraged to engage in some positive action.

I would ask your readers to give some thought to foie gras produc­tion, which involves force-feeding ducks and geese. It is a practice so cruel that it is prohibited in the UK and many other countries, although foie gras is still imported and sold in some stores, and served in many restaurants.

Foie gras (French for “fatty liver”) is made from the grotesquely en­larged livers of male ducks and geese. The birds are kept in tiny wire cages or packed into pens. They are unable to have much movement and can certainly not fly or swim, or even clean themselves. Two or three times every day, up to 2kg of grain and fat are pumped into the birds’ stomachs through pipes shoved down their throats. This force-feeding causes the birds’ livers to become diseased and to swell up to ten times their normal size.

Many birds become too sick to stand or lift their heads. The pipes sometimes puncture birds’ throats, and the massive amount of food can rupture their internal organs. Female hatchlings, who are useless to foie gras-producers, may be drowned in scalding water, suf­focated in plastic bags, or shredded alive in macerators.

The Prince of Wales refuses to allow foie on menus at his royal residences; and stores such as Selfridges, House of Fraser, and Harvey Nichols refuse to sell it. Unfortunately, other stores and restaurants continue to sell and serve foie gras, in spite of the terrible animal cruelty that is involved in its production.

I would urge Christians to refuse to eat foie gras, and to write to those stores that stock it and to those restaurants that serve it, and help to end this cruel trade.

Bishopstow, Stow Hill
Newport NP20 4EA

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