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Foie gras: Norwegian chains boycott delicacy

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A french farmer during the "gavage" - Source: Jérôme S/Flickr
12:31 CET+01:00
Five of Norway's leading gourmet food chains have joined a nationwide boycott of foie gras, in the latest move against the controversial French delicacy that will no doubt anger producers in France.
The movement against foie gras, the controversial French delicacy made from force-feeding geese and ducks (gavage), appears to be growing.
 
After foie gras was banned in California and Israel banned it from being imported, the latest action targeting the delicacy has been taken Norway, where gourmet food chains have decided to take a stand.
 
Meny, Ultra, Centra, Jacobs and CC Food have all stopped stocking the food, which is made by force-feeding geese to create an unusually large and fatty liver.
 
"Meny is now stopping the sale of foie gras and recalling all the products already in our stores," Meny wrote on its Facebook page to explain the decision.  "We have decided that we will not sell products where animal welfare is
not addressed, even if the sale is permitted under Norwegian law." 
 
Karen Frivik, a press spokesperson for Norway's Animal Protection Alliance told NRK that the ban was a "victory for the animals and for the long-term work that the Animal Protection Alliance has put into this issue" .
 
The organization is now lobbying the the Norwegian authorities to introduce a total import ban on foie gras.
 
The force-feeding method used to make the food, known in France as "gavage", has long been condemned by animal rights campaigners for the suffering it causes the animals. Although the practice is banned in Norway, it is still lawful to import the resulting livers.
 
France accounts for nearly 80 percent of the total foie gras production, producing about 22,000 tons a year. 
 

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A poll published earlier last year suggested the love for foie gras among the French may be dwindling.
 
According to the poll, almost one third of French people (29 percent) now refuse to buy foie gras for “ethical reasons linked to animal suffering”.

The Opinion Way poll commissioned by the French animal rights association L214, also suggests the French are fairly evenly split on whether the production of foie gras through force-feeding should be banned, with 44 percent in favour and 55 percent against prohibition.

There is clearly, however, still a hard core of Gallic foie gras-lovers out there, with 22 percent of respondents saying they prefer foie gras that has been produced by force-feeding the animals.

France’s Rural Code states that foie gras must be made by force-feeding, but French producers - aware that public opinion, at least abroad, is hardening against the delicacy - have been looking at alternative methods of production.

In November, French celebrity chef Joël Robuchon ditched his foie gras supplier after animal rights activists raised questions about its practices. 
 
A version of this story first appeared on our sister site The Local Norway.

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