Foie Gras Industry Group Takes Aim at #EndTheCageAge Campaign

Posted by on January 31, 2019 | Permalink

Foie gras lobbyists are worried. EU citizens are joining together and demanding that the European Commission ban the use of cages in animal agriculture. For the foie gras industry, this could be devastating.

To produce foie gras, workers grab ducks and geese by the neck, shove metal pipes down their throats, and pump massive amounts of grain and fat into their stomachs several times a day in a barbaric process known as “gavage”. The birds are kept in tiny cages or crowded sheds. They’re unable to bathe or groom themselves, and many have difficulty standing because their engorged livers distend their abdomens. Their suffering is so intense that the production of foie gras is effectively illegal in the UK and more than a dozen other countries.

The #EndTheCageAge European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a threat to the industry, which has gone on the offensive. In an article for EU policy website EURACTIV, a representative for the ECI writes that the initiative is under attack from foie gras industry lobbyists. She explains that a lawyer representing a European foie gras trade body sent a letter of formal notice to Compassion in World Farming France – one of the groups running the campaign – taking issue with the description of foie gras production in a report and demanding the removal of photos that show the public the reality of the industry.

The lobby group also posted a statement on its website daring readers to visit foie gras farms and see the conditions for themselves. Compassion in World Farming France and another #EndTheCageAge partner group, Animal Equality UK, called its bluff and visited a farm. What they saw was the same horrendous conditions described in the report:

The findings shown in the video mirror what PETA has revealed in our own exposés. In 2012, Sir Roger Moore narrated our shocking footage documenting abuse on facilities represented by the Sarlat Périgord Foie Gras cooperative. And in 2009, Oscar winner Kate Winslet narrated a PETA video featuring eyewitness footage of the cruelty endured by ducks and geese in the foie gras industry.

Across Europe, hundreds of millions of animals spend their entire lives imprisoned in tiny, barren cages or pens and prevented from engaging in their natural behaviour. These cruel conditions are currently the norm for many species: mother pigs are forced to nurse their piglets in crates, rabbits and quails are caged for life, and ducks and geese are confined for force-feeding to produce foie gras.

Join the Campaign to End Cage Farming

Cage confinement inflicts suffering on enormous numbers of animals, including geese, pigs, chickens, and rabbits. But a massive coalition of organisations is uniting to push the EU and UK governments to end the cage age.

Through the #EndTheCageAge European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), EU citizens are coming together to help rid Europe of these cages and deal a potentially devastating blow to industries that abuse animals. PETA and over 140 other groups have already mobilised more than 650,000 people across Europe. But to be successful, the ECI must be backed by at least 1 million voting-age EU citizens from at least seven member states, securing us the right to a public hearing in the European Parliament and compelling the European Commission to spell out what action it will take in response.

An ECI is a powerful initiative to influence lawmakers in Europe. That means it requires more personal data than a regular petition. Each EU member state has set its own rules for collecting signatures – some require details such as a passport or ID number. The website has been certified according to EU regulations to ensure that personal data is stored securely, is used only for validating your ECI signature, and will be deleted after signatures have been counted. Because of the upcoming Brexit deadline, signatures from UK citizens will not be valid at the September 2019 #EndTheCageAge ECI end date.

In the UK, millions of animals are forced to spend their entire lives imprisoned in cramped, filthy, barren cages or crates. This is extremely cruel and unnecessary – which is why, together with other leading animal-protection groups, we’ve launched a petition calling on the government to take an important first step in reducing the suffering of animals on farms by banning the use of cruel confinement systems in animal agriculture. We need to gather 100,000 signatures in order to bring about an important parliamentary debate on the issue.

If you live in the UK, please join PETA, other animal-protection organisations, and a host of public figures – including Joanna Lumley and Deborah Meaden – in calling for a ban on the use of cruel confinement systems on UK farms by signing the petition.

If we work together and raise our voices, we’ll have an opportunity to #EndTheCageAge.