A RELIGIOUS leader has urged people to give up one of the world’s most controversial culinary delicacies.
The Bishop of Monmouth, Dominic Walker, said foie gras was cruelly produced and said that Christians should refuse to eat it.
Even though the production of foie gras is prohibited in the UK, it is legal for shops and restaurants to sell it.
Foie gras – which means fatty liver in French – is produced by specially fattening a duck or goose which is achieved through gavage, effectively force-feeding the birds.
Anti-cruelty group Peta is among the organisations which stages protests and presses stores and restaurants to stop selling the food.
In a letter to the Western Mail, Bishop Walker argued that the practice amounts to animal cruelty.
He said: “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, and I would ask your readers to give some thought to foie gras production, which involves force-feeding ducks and geese until their livers become diseased and painfully enlarged to up to ten times their normal size – 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 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.”
Bishop Walker claimed that “many birds become too sick to stand or lift their heads”.
He said: “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 like Selfridges, House of Fraser and Harvey Nicholls 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 to help end this cruel trade.”
James Sommerin, executive head chef at Crown at Whitebrook restaurant, near Monmouth, said the Michelin-starred restaurant does not use foie gras and has not used it for about 12 months.
He added: “We have no plans to use foie gras in the future.”
But Shaun Hill, the chef and owner at the Michelin-starred Walnut Tree in Llanddewi Skirrid, defended foie gras, saying the restaurant uses the ingredient “occasionally”.
He said: “The biggest source of unethical food is chicken mass produced in Thailand and Brazil and goes into outlets here, but you never see Peta picketing outside the local balti house.
“Foie gras is a mere nothing in the scheme of things, but it’s an easy target.
“If I need to use it, I will make sure it’s free range and properly brought up – the same as any meat I use.
“If you are careful how you buy it, then you are at least moving with integrity.”
Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/03/19/don-t-eat-cruel-foie-gras-urges-bishop-of-monmouth-91466-28364779/#ixzz1H20IUV7f