Fortnum & Mason Is Unfit to Hold Royal Warrants

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PETA has been campaigning hard recently asking Fortnum & Mason to join shops like Selfridges and Harvey Nichols by ending its support of the barbaric foie gras trade.

Despite a shocking undercover investigation of several farms represented by the Sarlat Perigord cooperative, from which Fortnum & Mason’s distributor sources foie gras, that revealed the horrific suffering of birds, Fortnum & Mason continues to sell the vile product.

As a store which trades on its English heritage, Fortnum & Mason should not be supporting a product so cruel that its production is illegal in the UK. With Prince Charles refusing to serve foie gras because of its cruel production, we have contacted the Right Honourable Earl Peel to suggest that Fortnum & Mason is unfit to be a Royal Warrant holder.

The full letter is below.

Complaint Regarding Royal Warrant Holders Fortnum & Mason Plc

Dear Lord Peel,

I am writing to you on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) UK – an affiliate of PETA US, which is the largest animal rights group in the world and has more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide – concerning the conduct of the department store Fortnum & Mason Plc, which holds two Royal Warrants.

Our complaint centres on Fortnum & Mason’s sale of goose foie gras. As you may know, the production of foie gras involves force-feeding geese in order to create a diseased and distended liver. The methods used to produce foie gras are illegal in the UK under The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007. The production of foie gras is also banned in the EU under Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes. However, France opted out of this convention where the production of foie gras is concerned.

Prince Charles has stop serving foie gras at functions that he hosts, and many other high-profile retailers, including Selfridges, have stopped selling foie gras. Yesterday, PETA – along with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Compassion in World Farming, and other high-profile animal welfare groups that together represent millions of compassionate British citizens – wrote to Fortnum & Mason disputing outrageous claims the store has made in the media stating that “less than 1% of the public are opposed to the sale of foie gras”. In fact, according to an Ipos MORI survey commissioned by the RSPCA, 63 per cent of Britons wish to see a ban on the sale of foie gras. I have enclosed a copy of the letter.

Matters are compounded by the way in which Fortnum & Mason promotes its foie gras to consumers. Westminster Trading Standards have already intervened in December 2011 to make Fortnum & Mason reword its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy in order to avoid misleading consumers about the standards of animal welfare used in the production of its foie gras. A further complaint has been made to Trading Standards about a promotional video issued by Fortnum & Mason about its own-label foie gras product and the CSR, both of which maintained that the highest standards of animal welfare were observed in the production of Fortnum & Mason’s foie gras, without mentioning that production had been banned in the UK and most of the EU on animal welfare grounds.

Fortnum & Mason make their Englishness look like a great virtue. To this end, they trade on the Royal Warrants awarded to them. Their CSR talks of the store’s high ethics and morals, particularly with regard to food production techniques and animal welfare. It states, “Across everything Fortnum & Mason is and does runs its English character”. A copy of the CSR is enclosed.

Fortnum & Mason use the Royal Warrants to promote their Englishness, with the values that it represents, yet the production of foie gras is illegal under English law.

We respectfully suggest that it is totally inappropriate for a Royal Warrant holder to sell a product whose production is banned in this country on cruelty-to-animals grounds and promote the product within a framework that claims the highest animal welfare standards yet fails to mention the UK ban on its production.

PETA UK recently carried out an investigation into the French cooperative which supplies foie gras to Fortnum & Mason. Video footage has been obtained from a Fortnum & Mason supplier farm in France and at the abattoir used by that farm. This evidence flatly contradicts the contents of Fortnum & Masons’ CSR and its promotional video. The footage shows the following:

  • A farmer uses his dog to tease and torment one of the geese.
  • A goose had an injured and bleeding foot, and when the farmer’s attention was drawn to this fact, he belittled and ignored the injury.
  • The geese panted and struggled to breathe as their distended livers pressed against their lungs.
  • Some geese were slaughtered by having their throats cut without being stunned first (this is contrary French animal welfare laws).

You can view some of this footage on the DVD prepared by PETA and narrated by Sir Roger Moore, which is enclosed. All of the footage was filmed at farms represented by the cooperative which Fortnum & Mason’s distributor sources from.

This issue has raised a considerable amount of media interest – some of which I have also enclosed.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, Mimi Bekhechi
Associate Director
PETA Foundation

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Comments

  • Martyn Rich commented on October 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Please give this matter your upmost urgency

  • Geoff Johnson commented on October 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

    The barbaric and cruel treatment to geese must be stopped. Foie Gras is not a delicacy as far as the geese, which are sentient beings, are concerend. Please assist all of those that have campaigned to bring an end to the production of Foie Gras and the sale of it at F&M.

    Sincerely

    G Johnson

  • Jane Hurley commented on October 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I know of no one who approves of these farming methods. It is entirely unnecessary and immoral. Please do the civilised thing. Thank you

  • Amelie Elisabeth Boleyn commented on October 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Fois Gras is a barbaric brand unfit to be acceptable in today’s modern society.

    There is absolutely no excuse or justification which exists other than its existence serving no other purposes than profit gift wrapped by tradition and class snobbery.

    There is no place for Fois Gras in our society; indeed the ban on production of this vile product in our country speaks for itself.

    We respectfully propose that you review the credibility of the F&M brand for surely sooner or later it will represent an institution no longer recognised for its ‘tradition’ or ‘class’, rather its determination to cling onto supplying products which can only be described as evil.

    Yours

    Amelie Boleyn

  • Andrea Barraclough commented on October 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Fortnum & Mason should be ashamed of being associated with the sale of a product which has resulted from cruel abuse of geese. It’s clear that their values are misguided. I would not purchase anything from their store because production of fois gras amounts to torture.

    • Cat Whispurrer commented on October 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Please honour the ban on foie gras in the UK by not allowing the loopholes through which slimy merchants like Fortnum & Mason can circumvent the law. Set an example for the rest of the world. It’s overdue and foie gras is neither healthy for its innocent victims nor those who consumed their diseased livers!! Get it????

  • SANDRA QUELCH commented on October 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    THEY SHOULD BE STRIPPED OF THIS PRIVILEDGE OF A ROYAL WARRANT.

    YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES THIS PRACTICE IS BARBARIC, CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT.

    PLEASE STOP THIS TORTURE LOOK AT THE PHOTOS OF THESE POOR ANIMALS BEING FORCE FED, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU HAD A STEEL FUNNEL BEING PUT DOWN YOUR THROAT.

    PLEASE STOP THIS PLEASE.

  • Merthyr Stevens commented on November 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Fortnum & Mason, by continuing to import and sell foie gras despite the knowledge that it is a product of extreme cruelty and inhumane practices which cause immense suffering to the geese and ducks, are showing discerning consumers that they are without conscience and are nothing more than a snobbish establishment pandering to the unnatural tastes of snob culture.

    Shame on them – shame shame shame!! They are a disgrace, and I shall avoid their “emporium” like the plague and encourage all my friends, family and associates to do likewise.

    Obviously greed and profit come before compassion and common sense.

    Because of this they have proved without doubt that they are unfit to hold Royal Warrants, and these should be removed from them without further ado.

  • GILLIAN DOWLING commented on November 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    THE TORTURE AND SUFFERING THESE POOR BIRDS ARE SUBJECTED TO JUST TO PROVIDE SOME HUMANS WITH A FOOD PRODUCE WHICH IS HORRIBLE ANYWAY AND APPEALS TO A VERY LIMITED MARKET,IS DISGUSTING!!! SHAME ON THE MANUFACTURERS,SHOPS SELLING THE PRODUCT AND RESTAURANTS SELLING IT!!! EVEN MORE SHAME ON THE EMPLOYERS/EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ON THE `SHOP FLOOR`INFLICTING OR OVERSEEING THIS DREADFUL PRACTICE ON THESE POOR,INNOCENT BIRDS!!! I REALLY DON`T KNOW HOW YOU CAN GO TO `WORK`EVERY DAY OR SLEEP AT NIGHT KNOWING YOU HAVE CAUSED SUCH SUFFERING TO SO MANY??? PURE EVIL!!

  • Damien commented on November 3, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Foie Gras is vile but I would say a royal endorsement is very fitting for Fortnum & Mason. The British royal family support and engage / have engaged in hunting, shooting and fishing. Not to mention their patronage of bear skins for military ceremonial headwear. Unfortunately their willing ignorance of animal suffering is all too similar to that of F&M.

  • Cathy commented on November 4, 2012 at 2:17 am

    PLEASE CAN ALL YOU GOOD PEOPLE SIGN THE GOVERNMENT E-PETITION TO BAN FOIE GRAS IN THE UK AND NETWORK THE LINK AS FAR AS POSSIBLE. iF WE CAN GET 100,000 SIGNATURES BY MID FEB THEN GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE TO DEBATE IN PARLIAMENT. I HAVE SOME APPROPRIATE LEAFLETS FROM ‘VIVA’ TO GIVE PEOPLE WHEN I ASK THEM TO SIGN.

  • Numa commented on November 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    As a child I saw my aunt force feeding geese by wedging each one in turn between her knees and legs so that they could not escape this cruelty. She or her brother who was a butcher would in due course kill the birds. She would sing a song of her own devising in anticipation that ‘tomorrow will be a slaughter feast’. As a child I wondered how the words ‘slaughter’ and ‘feast’ could possibly go together.

    Apparently these words also go together in the highest circles in the land! What a pity when these people could be role models.

    • Carol bouchard commented on November 6, 2012 at 2:43 am

      His sad for you to have witnessed this!

  • Carol bouchard commented on November 6, 2012 at 2:36 am

    I suggest that perhaps those at fortnight and mason responsible for ordering this product be force fed themselves till they cannot walk. Perhaps then they might understand what these geese go through. I recently visited Fortnum and Mason whilst in London. After learning that they sell this product this age old company disgusts me. I will not encourage any friends to visit and buy any products from them.

  • Katy bodros commented on December 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    It is shameful and unbelievable that ANY shop will accept to sell such degradable foods!

    I have only one word ” SHAME”!
    Shame for buyers and most importantly Shane for the sellers !

  • Barbara Shepard commented on December 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Please think about what it really means to these creatures and stop seing them as existing for human pleasures. This is a completely unecessary product that involves stupid cruelty and for what.

  • Barbara Shepard commented on December 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    This is an unecessary product. Stop this stupid practice involving gross cruelty. All creatures do not exist for us humans to do with as we wish with no regard for their lives and the pain inflicted.

  • LINDA BADHAM commented on December 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    YOU WILL REAP AS YOU SOW. THEY WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQENCES. IF PRINCE CHARLES HAS STOPPED SERVING THIS, YOU SHOULD. SURELY YOU WILL MAKE YOUR MONEY BY AN ALTERNATIVE, SO HAVE SOME COMPASSION FOR ONCE. IT WILL MAY SURPRISE YOU

  • Vivien Sadler commented on December 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    How can you do this to such sweet creatures who cannot fight back for themselves. You and your company should be ashamed.

  • JOHN GARETH commented on December 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    An absolutely disgraceful way to treat these poor sentient creatures. So much for Fortnum and Mason,they should hang their heads in shame.Where are the conciences of the people involved in both the production and the consuming of this vile product. I despair of the way animals are treated in this world,it breaks my heart.

  • fiona commented on December 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Please would you do some research to understand why all this fuss. Foi Gras really is not only exceptionally cruel, but obviously this is not a healthy product! It is simply not beneficial to people to eat this and is exceedingly outdated… but when we look at the suffering caused, it simply must be stopped. Please spend a little time watchin some footage of how these animals are treated- and then, after careful consideration, ask whether you really want to be associated with this kind of cruelty. thankyou

  • Cecily Colloby. commented on December 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Well said,Damien-the Royal family themselves indulge in all manner of cruelty-hunting,shooting,fishing,racing and have done nothing to stop the cruel killing of bears for the bearskins which their guards wear!!
    Fortnums are a disgrace,as is anyone who sells or eats foie gras.

  • silvia eid commented on December 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I ask you NOT to sell fois gras. It’s a product of the violence that geese are constrained to undergo.

  • Miss Judy Cooper commented on December 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    If you can watch torture or feel it it is acceptable that person should be certified mentally unstable!! There is no justification for cruelty and how it ever is allowed to continue I will never know. Why can we not live in a civilized world? No end of emails to Fortum and Mason has any impact. We must however perseveer. Relly we should target the farms not the sellers. Can we get them closed? we need to target the French Government. Is there any one out there that can get this going? Please please continue the fight.

  • Catherine Davis commented on December 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Please think about these poor animals instead of your profit!

  • vicki commented on December 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    its quite simple, stop unnesecary and barbaric actions towards animals. no normal people with an ounce of compassion would agree with it.

  • valda purvis commented on December 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    How could any descent human being -enjoy eating this when they know an animal died in agony to produce it-what does that say about them?-shame on them.

  • Jessica Reeves commented on December 6, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Fortnum & Mason should be ashamed of itself for persisting with this barbaric trade.

  • Kelly Breen commented on December 6, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Shame on Fortnum and Mason and the people who buy and eat this

  • Bauts commented on December 6, 2012 at 8:30 am

    STOP CRUAUTY ANIMAL

  • Jane Dearman commented on December 6, 2012 at 9:38 am

    The so called upper classes have always indulged themselves in whatever they want, regardless of any suffering of anyone or anything else. The world is changing. Start thinking about others. You can stop this pointless suffering.

  • Robert Graham commented on December 6, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Dear Sir
    you will obviously have to stop this at some point,why not now before you lose any more customers ?

  • cheryl harrison commented on December 6, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Stop this now , its cruel and disgusting , shame on fortnam mason i will not be going their any more

  • Bianca Carlevaris commented on December 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

    This horrific trade has to be stopped. Unfortunately I have discovered that also TESCO store is selling the f.grass too. Is there something that can be done?

  • Susan Hourd commented on December 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

    There is no excuse for this kind of barbaric cruelty! Fortnum & Mason should hang their heads in shame, I certainly won’t be shopping there!

  • Sue commented on December 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Fortnum & Mason generally cater for the wealthy, and most of these people don’t give a damn about animals. This is a cruel and barbaric method and MUST stop. No decent human being would treat an animal this way, and by selling this disgusting, so called delicacy these poor geese are suffering enormously. This shop is a disgrace, and I had my way, along with many others the doors would be closed.

  • Daniele Vitalini commented on December 6, 2012 at 11:56 am

    STOP fois gras!

  • Annette Barsby commented on December 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    This is a horrible and cruel procedure. Should be banned for good.

  • Lisa Pilmore commented on December 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    please stop this it is barbaric. these farmers should be exposed to the same cruelty and see how they like it.

  • Nicola banks commented on December 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    The suffering has to stop!

  • Laura commented on December 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    For God’s sake, won’t you just STOP & END this CRUELTY.

    You will have to face your Maker in the end++++++

  • Jane Davidson commented on December 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Who would want to eat such a product of pain and agony anyway? Bad kharma and evil.

  • Dave Rigby commented on December 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Foie Gras!! Just how low will a human being go to make money?

  • chander kumar soni commented on December 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    feeling sad.

  • Tracy Light commented on December 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    When will this barbaric treatment stop..When will Fortnum and Mason cease being barbarians..!?

  • Mike M commented on December 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Sick Food at a sick shop used by sick people!!!!!!!!!!

  • mick burbidge commented on December 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    sick and disgusting, I will not step foot in their store til this changes (I never have/will anyway – too expensive and snobby but the arrogance over the Foie Gras has sealed this forever).

  • Gejo commented on December 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I contacted F&M about five months ago. The reply was very polite but defending the business of foie-gras and basically saying PeTA was making up the story. I wish I kept it to publish it here. I hate that place anyway!

  • SJR Blackburn commented on December 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    This is so sick and needs to be stopped

    We are supposed to be living is a caring society

    STOP THIS CRUELTY RIGHT NOW AND MAKE IT TOTALLY ILLEGAL

  • Deborah Goode commented on December 7, 2012 at 9:50 am

    It’s barbaric.

  • Deborah Goode commented on December 7, 2012 at 9:51 am

    It’s barbaric. Fois Gras is a barbaric brand unfit to be acceptable in today’s modern society.

    There is absolutely no excuse or justification which exists other than its existence serving no other purposes than profit gift wrapped by tradition and class snobbery.

    There is no place for Fois Gras in our society; indeed the ban on production of this vile product in our country speaks for itself.

    We respectfully propose that you review the credibility of the F&M brand for surely sooner or later it will represent an institution no longer recognised for its ‘tradition’ or ‘class’, rather its determination to cling onto supplying products which can only be described as evil.

  • Deborah Goode commented on December 7, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Fois Gras is a barbaric brand unfit to be acceptable in today’s modern society.

    There is absolutely no excuse or justification which exists other than its existence serving no other purposes than profit gift wrapped by tradition and class snobbery.

    There is no place for Fois Gras in our society; indeed the ban on production of this vile product in our country speaks for itself.

    We respectfully propose that you review the credibility of the F&M brand for surely sooner or later it will represent an institution no longer recognised for its ‘tradition’ or ‘class’, rather its determination to cling onto supplying products which can only be described as evil.

  • BROWN-JONES commented on December 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    shame on you!

  • sue-ellen commented on December 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    humans really can be repulsive.

  • Carolyn commented on December 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Shame on you F & M! I will not be supporting you in future.

  • Martine Vaffier commented on December 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    It is disgusting that “human” beings can torture other beings, and for what?!!

  • pat holland commented on December 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    So much cruelty for so little.
    KaDeWe, the Harrods of Berlin, also stocks this vile product.
    How can people profit from such suffering.

  • Linda Bowman commented on December 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Disgusting – how can force feeding of animals be justified? just to satisfy a few sick people who should know better. Only the very ignorant do not know that suffering takes place to product this vile product.

    You should be totally ashamed of yourselves

  • Carole Fraser commented on December 28, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Its all to with how much money these UPPER CLASS Toffs can make out of this vile evil product they could not care a dam about how much these poor creatures suffer at the end of the day its all about big bucks SHAME ON YOU ALL for carrying out such crimes.

  • Pat Wench commented on December 29, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I simply can’t believe this barbaric treatment to geese is still
    carrying on to this day – the French Government should put a stop to
    it immediately and our Government should ban it – it shouldn’t be
    allowed to come into the country

  • Michael Shaw commented on December 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Why do it?

  • June Mackenzie commented on January 9, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Shame on you F & M. I was a customer of yours. Not now…….. I do not knowingly shop and spend my money with people such as you.

  • Rosemary Glibbery commented on January 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    How is it that an upmarket store like yourselves stocks this vile product -Take the privelge of using the royal standard away from them until they ban the selling of this cruel and barbaric means of making a profit

  • breaking news commented on February 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you, I’ve just been searching for info about this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered so far. However, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

  • Hilary Booth commented on February 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    It is condemnable that this vile product is still allowed to be produced. Shame on anyone who eats it and shame on you Fortnum and Masons for selling it.

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