This morning I received a worrying email. For the last few months, attention has been drawn to cases such male calves and sheep being shipped from Britain in horrific conditions only to be killed using methods that might not be legal in the UK at the end destination. However here’s some good news, it seems the Thanet council and the Associated British Ports has done their part for animal welfare by stopping live exports from the Ramsgate and Ipswich Ports, with much prodding from the RSPCA and the local people. The action taken here was in response to an incident last month where 46 sheep were killed due to inadequate care. What happened at Ramsgate was appalling but the sheep did not die in vain as there finally seems to be some action in regards to stopping this cruel practice. For more information on this case, check out these two RSPCA links, Ramsgate and Ipswich.
Now the email I read this morning was from PETA (the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation) and it was very shocking. PETA is fond of shock tactics, using real footage of animal cruelty. Today, my attention was brought to another farm animal that was being seriously abused. Its production is banned in the UK, in fact, many countries do not allow this act of torture so it surprises me that countries, like France (the main producer), that have the power to change still allows this practice to continue. I am talking about foie gras, a product born out of pain. Foie gras is the liver of a goose or duck that has been fattened via force feeding of grain. They call it a delicacy but the amount of pain it causes the geese and duck that are subjected to this force feeding is barbaric.
Some of the problems caused to the life stock that are force fed are:
· Lungs being squashed by enlarged livers
· Leg fractures from being unable to support the weight of enlarged livers
· Possible harming of the throat from having a metal pipe shoved down it
· Psychological distress from the act of being force fed
What I find truly appalling and downright shameful is that even though making of foie gras is illegal in the UK, selling it is perfectly fine. Some big stores like Selfridges have stopped selling this product but Fortnum & Mason has yet to remove foie gras from its store. PETA’s email aimed to bring awareness to this point in the hopes that Fortnum & Mason’s managing director, Ewan Venters, will stop importing foie gras. PETA released a video showing the treatment of the birds on the farms that Fortnum & Mason buy their foie gras from. This video is not for the weak hearted, it is distressing and not pleasant. You have been warned. You can choose to watch or you can choose not to but I hope that you take the time to visit PETA’s website and send an email to Venters to tell him what you think about foie gras. The form to send an email to Venters is at the bottom of the page at this link.
The discontent of civilization, as Freud once pointed out, is that we don’t all get to do what we want. The price of getting to live among our fellow humans in a truly civilized society is that we have to repress some of our urges. I love everything about eating foie gras – but I do it rarely, and I look forward to the day when I won’t be able to find it on a menu.