Three local authorities in France have banned the traditional serving over Christmas of foie gras in school canteens and for official town-hall functions. Having foie gras on the Christmas lunch menu in the form of stuffing or as a spread is common in France. This enlightening move of these pioneer politicians comes after years of pressure from animal rights groups and animal welfare parties.
The three authorities, governed by the Green party, are the city of Grenoble, in the Isère department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France; the city of Strasbourg, the capital of the Grand Est region (formerly Alsace), in northeastern France; and Villeurbanne, a commune in the Metropolis of Lyon in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France.
Sandra Krief, a city councillor in Grenoble for the Parti Animaliste, tweeted “Foie gras is a shameful French tradition that should be abolished like bullfighting.”
The animal rights organisation PETA France has been campaigning to have foie gras scrapped from the menu at official town halls functions across the country, and they are now targeting Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, and others. In 2012 Animal Equality did several investigations into European foie grass farms showing the horrors inflicted to millions of birds.
China, the United States and Canada are foie gras producers. In Europe, foie gras is produced in only four countries: France, Bulgaria, Spain, and Hungary. However, 75% of the world’s foie gras is produced by France by force-feeding ducks or geese until they develop the distinct diseased ‘fatty liver’, which is where foie gras is made of. In a process known as “gavage”, workers ram pipes down the throats of ducks or geese twice or three times each day, pumping up to 2.2 or 4 pounds of grain and fat into their stomachs, respectively.
This year the EU parliament called on the European Commission and member states to ban the practice of force-feeding animals, and foie gras is now banned from official events in the Strasbourg parliament building. California has banned the sale of foie gras and there has been pressure for the British government to do the same. In 2019 the New York City Council voted to ban the classic French delicacy. However, up to around 2015, France was producing over 20,000 tons of this cruel food every year by killing about 700,000 geese and 37 million ducks. The good news is that the production has declined since, with the latest’s figures for 2021 showing 11,719 tons. Hopefully, the measures taken by the three visionary local authorities will be spread further so eventually the industry either collapses or is banned once and for all.