France Places Temporary Ban on Cruel Foie Gras Production

Producers of foie gras have said they will lose millions of euros as France introduces a three-month ban on production.

The measure, which has been prompted by a bird flu scare, means breeders in 18 départments in south west France will not be allowed to have any ducks or geese in their slaughterhouses until August.

Foie gras - or fattened duck or goose liver - is considered a delicacy by some but is denounced as cruel by animal rights campaigners due the practice of force-feeding.

Breeder Florence Lasserre told the France Info news channel that her gavage room - meaning the room where the birds are forced fed - was currently empty.

She said:  “Usually it’s full here, and it feels a bit lonely now” How can a shed without extreme cruelty be lonely?!

A highly virulent strain of the H5N1 virus was identified at a chicken farm in Dordogne in November last year triggering an investigation by a watchdog.

H5N1 is highly lethal for birds but humans are typically only infected when they come into close contact with the animals.

France produces around 75 per cent of the world supply of foie gras, exporting nearly 5,000 tonnes in 2014, the Local reports.

Force feeding - which involved put pipes down the throats of the birds - is illegal in many countries, including the UK, but legal in France.

Animal rights group, Peta, has called the practice “cruel” and said the birds’ livers can swell up to 10 times their nature size.