• France's news in English

French court clears foie gras producer of cruelty

AFP · 19 Mar 2015, 16:32

Published: 19 Mar 2015 16:32 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The case targeted one of France's best-known producers, Ernest Soulard, a company based in the western Vendee province which supplies top restaurants including Le Fouquet's and George V in Paris.
It was brought by animal rights group L214, which released a video in 2013 claiming to show the conditions at farms under contract to Ernest Soulard, with ducks confined in individual cages, barely able to move.
The video prompted top chefs, including multi-Michelin-starred Joel Robuchon and Britain's Gordon Ramsay, to suspend their orders with the company.
But the company said the court's decision to throw out the case supported its claims that the video was fake.
"It has been demonstrated that the images that caused such a stir on the Internet were falsified, so justice has been done," said Roland Tonarelli, director general of Ernest Soulard.
"We have turned the page with our clients, everyone is absolutely convinced that we are blameless."
L214 has denied manipulating the video, saying it received the images from someone with access to the force-feeding areas and "simply edited them together".
"It's a disappointing decision, but it's only one step in the long process of taking into account the suffering of animals and banning force-feeding," said the lawyer for L214, Helene Thouy.
"One day, we will look back on the force-feeding of animals as a barbaric practice to be filed away in the museum of horrors," she added.
Force-feeding ducks to make foie gras -- a practice known as "gavage" -- has been banned in several countries but remains legal in France.
However, the European Union ruled in 2011 that birds cannot be kept in individual cages and gave farms until the end of 2015 to comply.
The case against Ernest Soulard became an excuse to thrash out the long-standing debate over foie gras, a thick type of liver pate that is a traditional French delicacy enjoyed by millions, particularly at Christmas and special occasions.
Story continues below…
It is made by force-feeding corn through a tube into ducks and geese, fattening them to around four times their natural body weight.
Tonarelli said his company sticks closely to the law.
"Even if certain people do not agree with this method of production, it isstill perfectly legal," he said.
"The well-being of the animal is key to our trade, our raison d'etre. An animal in good health makes a good product."
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available