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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 12:02 GMT
City poised to urge foie gras ban
Foie gras in preparation
Foie gras is the product of torture, say protesters
York could become the first city in the UK to call for a nationwide ban on the sale of foie gras on cruelty grounds.

Councillors vote on Thursday on a motion urging the government to impose a ban and for the city to discourage the sale of the French delicacy.

The motion, tabled by councillor Paul Blanchard, says the use of livers from force-fed ducks is "a brutal practice".

But York restaurateur Michael Hjort, who uses foie gras, said: "Why are they bothering? It's gesture politics."

He said his restaurant, Melton's, only used foie gras occasionally and the amount consumed in York and the UK as a whole was "tiny".

"I don't think foie gras production is necessarily cruel," he said. "I am much more concerned about battery chicken production."

This intolerably cruel and painful practice is unnecessary and should end
Councillor Paul Blanchard's motion

However, Mr Blanchard said: "It is a brutal practice, the production of which has rightly been outlawed in Britain.

"But we are still one of the biggest importers of foie gras from France, and until that stops, the torture of these birds is on all our consciences.

"After a groundbreaking campaign, the local city council in Chicago, USA, has banned it in its shops and restaurants - and I see no reason why we can't follow their lead here in York."

His motion calls on the council to write to animal welfare minister Ben Bradshaw and ask for the production and sale of foie gras to be banned in the UK .

His motion, which has the backing of his fellow Labour councillors and has been formally seconded by the York Green Party, also urges the city to "do as much as reasonably possible to discourage or prohibit the sale of foie gras within the authority area, whether in shops or restaurants".

Force feeding a goose (picture courtesy of CIWF)
French law stipulates that foie gras must come from force-fed birds

It concludes: "The torture of animals should not be a matter of personal dietary choice."

Joe Moore, Alderman of the 49th Ward of the City of Chicago, USA, who was instrumental in banning the sale of foie gras there, said: "I wish Paul the best of luck with his anti foie gras campaign. It's a courageous stand against the sale of a product of animal cruelty.

"If the City of York Council passes this motion, it will make a profound moral statement against cruelty, and send a powerful message that it upholds the values of a civilised and humane society."

Marie-Claire Macintosh, of Compassion in World Farming, said: "We applaud the City of York Council in its pioneering efforts to get foie gras banned on cruelty grounds.

"The method to produce this 'delicacy' is brutal and inherently cruel and has no place in a civilised society."




SEE ALSO
Foie gras banned in Chicago
23 Aug 06 |  Americas

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