What is foie gras and how is it made? Animal welfare campaigners denounce plan to remove import ban

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Animal welfare campaigners have denounced government plans to drop a proposed ban on the import and sale of foie gras.

BBC News reports that animal rights organization L214 has released footage secretly obtained in France, which shows ducks crammed into wire cages and force-fed to produce foie gras.

The UK government says no final decision has yet been made on this. But what exactly is foie gras, how is it made and is it legal in the UK?

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What is foie gras and how is it made?

Foie gras is a food made from duck or goose liver. Considered a delicacy in French cuisine, its manufacture is highly controversial as it usually involves the force-feeding of animals.

This method of production, known as “gavage”, forces ducks and geese to consume more than they would typically eat voluntarily. They are usually fed boiled corn with fat, which gives their liver the greasy consistency sought after by foie gras eaters.

However, in some countries – including Spain – foie gras is sometimes produced via natural diets.

Foie gras can be sold whole, or used to make pâté, mousse or parfait. It can be served as an accompaniment to other foods such as steak.

Is foie gras legal in the UK?

The production of foie gras by force-feeding – aka force-feeding – is already illegal in the UK, but imports remain legal and some restaurants in the UK continue to serve it.

The British government was due to ban the importation of foie gras as part of its upcoming Animals Abroad Bill. The 2019 Conservative manifesto noted that “high standards of animal welfare” were a defining characteristic of any “civilized society”.

But opinion within the cabinet seems divided. Jacob Rees-Mogg reportedly pressured Prime Minister Boris Johnson to drop a proposed ban on foie gras imports, citing consumer choice.

Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith, however, has publicly speak against those of his colleagues who oppose the ban, stressing that public opinion supports it “strongly”.

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