Fortnum & Mason’s Unwarranted Cruelty – One is Not Amused

Posted by on November 22, 2013 | Permalink

A Royal Warrant is a seal of approval from The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or Prince Charles. London department store Fortnum & Mason currently holds two of them, credentials which are vital to its brand image as a traditional British retailer.

There’s something not quite right here. Royal Warrant holders are expected to adhere to certain ethical standards, yet Fortnum & Mason has in recent years become infamous for its lack of ethics when it comes to animals, since it continues to sell foie gras, a product universally condemned by compassionate people and shunned by most of Fortnum & Mason’s competitors.

The guidelines of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, in fact, state that companies with warrants should “encourage higher welfare standards, promoting RSPCA Freedom Foods or equivalent assurances”. It’s therefore totally incongruous that Fortnum & Mason is allowed to hold warrants while selling a product which experts agree can never be produced humanely.

Put simply, force-feeding ducks and geese until they become mortally ill, their livers so grossly swollen that they can barely breathe and often can no longer stand up, is incompatible with basic animal welfare – and for that very good reason, it’s actually illegal to abuse animals like this in the UK.

Ironically, members of the Royal Family also agree that producing foie gras is wrong. HRH Prince Charles has asked for the revolting product to be removed from the menus of his Royal residences, while his niece Emma Parker Bowles has actually written to Fortnum & Mason imploring the store to stop selling foie gras.

There is a precedent for companies which don’t make the grade to lose their warrants. In the past, Harrods, Guinness and, most famously, cigarette company Benson & Hedges have been struck from the Royal roster, reflecting the changing values of modern Britain. Public opinion in this country is now firmly set against foie gras, with almost two-thirds of Britons in favour of an outright ban on its sale, while there’s been a mass movement of restaurants, catering companies and retailers banishing it from their businesses.

Fortnum & Mason may be known as “the Queen’s grocer”, but as long as it continues to hold its cavalier attitude towards animal welfare, it’s risking its cherished reputation and Royal approval. By putting pressure on the Royal Warrant Holders Association to strip Fortnum & Mason’s warrants, we’ll hit the store where it hurts – and take a step towards ending the torture of geese on French foie gras farms.

Please join many others – including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and TV star Arlene Phillips – in sending a message to the Royal Warrant Holders Association in order to draw its attention to Fortnum & Mason’s unacceptable flouting of animal welfare guidelines:

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