Red light campaign – Foie Gras Free Wellington
In late 2011 Speak Up for Animals NZ decided that it would be a great idea if we could be a ‘Foie Gras Free city’ and eventually a ‘Foie Gras Free nation’! We are not alone in this endeavor as many nations have already banned the production of Foie Gras. Meanwhile California State (population 37 million) leads the way as they have banned the sale of Foie Gras.
After much research and correspondence with several food outlets, we discovered that very few places stocked foie gras and/or had it on their menu. In fact it seemed Le Canard was the only restaurant in Wellington we could find that was stocking it and listing it on their menu.
We contacted Le Canard to inform them of the cruelty involved in the production of Foie Gras and asked if they would consider taking it off the menu as an ethical decision. They informed us that their customers were aware of the methods used and they would not be taking it off the menu. We decided that we did not think all customers may know about Foie Gras and that the public probably didn’t either. This is when we decided to hand out leaflets to customers and educate the public about force feeding ducks and geese and we continued to ask Le Canard to stop importing the fatty liver delicacy.
We were holding regular leaflet drops and protests at Le Canard and hoped that soon enough the chefs and owners would make the compassionate decision to omit foie gras from their entree’s list. It was not our intention to put Chef Pascal and his team out of business, but to highlight the unnecessary suffering that has caused this food to be banned in so many countries. We think it is a positive opportunity for a business to make the morally right choice. We speak for the geese and ducks who cannot speak for themselves.
STOP PRESS – NOVEMBER 21!! An important update – In November Pascal announced via the media he would be removing foie gras from his menus and true to his word this has been done. We are extremely happy for the ducks and geese and also grateful to all the support and help we received during our protests. We would like to send our thanks to these compassionate individuals and organisations. Also we must congratulate Le Canard for doing the right thing by the birds.
Further to this news: It had come to our attention that Hippopotamus Bar and Restaurant may have been selling foie gras on occasion. The Maitre d’ from Hippopotamus had informed both the media and us personally early/mid November that the diseased liver of force-fed birds was NOT on the menu. To our disappointment we found it was both on the online menu and the in-house menu. Until foie gras is taken off all menus Speak Up for Animals NZ will be taking action. We are very close to having a foie gras free Wellington – let’s do it together!
ANOTHER UPDATE – November 25 – last night we visited Hippopotamus Restaurant in Wellington to hand out leaflets to inform the public that they serve diseased duck liver. To our pleasant surprise( after re-checking their menu outside the restaurant and inside the restaurant) we can confirm the menu has been changed and it has been taken off!!! Wonderful work team! We have dropped in a note to the restaurant personally to thank them and are now waiting for their website to be updated accordingly.
As far as we know there are no further restaurants selling foie gras. We will now contact any delis/shops/suppliers we know or suspect stock foie gras in tins and jars. We are edging closer to achieving our goal.
Some Frequently Asked Questions on Foie Gras:
OK, so what exactly is Foie Gras?
Translated in French Foie Gras means ‘fatty liver’ and is the over-sized fatty liver from a force-fed (otherwise known as gavaged) duck or goose. According to French Law in order to be called ‘Foie Gras’ the animal has to be force-fed.
Isn’t it illegal in New Zealand?
Under the Animal Welfare Act the process of force feeding would be interpreted as not meeting the Act’s standards therefore it cannot be produced in New Zealand. To import fresh Foie Gras would also not fit the criteria, however tinned Foie Gras is allowed into the country so this is how the delicacy is sold in New Zealand.
What about ‘ethical foie gras’?
As French Law states all Foie Gras requires force-feeding, ‘ethical Foie Gras’ still involves force feeding. The difference is that the ducks and/or geese are usually free range (instead of in industrialized cages like battery hens) and those that use this ‘ethical’ label also lay claim that their force-feeding is quicker and therefore causes much less harm to the ducks. Speak Up for Animals NZ is of the opinion that the ducks and geese are still having pipes inserted into their throats and still being fed copious amounts of food to achieve fatty and diseased organs and to us this is totally unacceptable.
So what can I do?
Please sign our petition (the link is on the left) and educate your friends and family about Foie Gras and get them to sign the petition too. We are one step closer to helping ease animal suffering when we reduce demand for animal products and Speak Up for Animals believes this practice is a particularly cruel one. If you would like to get involved in our cause, or would like to contact us please email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook at Speak Up For Animals NZ.