• France's news in English
Pamela Anderson's foie gras fight ruffles French feathers
'A turkey stuffed with silicon': It doesn't appear Pamela Anderson was given a warm welcome in the National Assembly. Photo: AFP

Pamela Anderson's foie gras fight ruffles French feathers

AFP · 20 Jan 2016, 08:37

Published: 20 Jan 2016 08:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Jan 2016 08:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 48-year-old one-time Playboy model was invited to parliament by a member of the green EELV party, which wants to introduce a draft law to ban the practice.

Anderson appealed to lawmakers to abolish force-feeding, saying that "foie gras is not a healthy product and does not have a place in a civilized society. These ducks did not have a single day of happiness in their short lives."

The appearance of the Canadian-born actress, now an animal rights activist, caused a rare commotion in the assembly as ushers had to call police to control photographers and cameramen crowding the entrance to the small room hosting her press conference.

However, to many lawmakers and foie gras producers, Anderson's presence was a political stunt that has not gone down well.

'A turkey stuffed with silicon'

"Pamela Anderson's visit gets on my nerves and I am fed up with it," said a spokesman for the ruling Socialists Hugues Fourage, in an apparently deliberate pun.

"It is political theatre."

The Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Traditions (CPNT) movement slammed the ecologist deputy who invited her, Laurence Abeille, saying she "preferred turkeys stuffed with silicon to good geese stuffed with maize from (the regions) Landes and Perigord."

Abeille hit back at "particularly shocking, sexist, chauvinist, misogynistic comments."

Anderson "is strongly committed to us continuing to eat well, without inflicting harm on animals", Abeille said.

Anderson's press conference was co-organized by the foundation belonging to Brigitte Bardot - another star turned animal activist - which released results of a poll showing that 70 percent of French people are opposed to force-feeding "given that there are alternatives" to produce foie gras.

"Foie gras is not a symbol of festivity, but a symbol of death, and force-feeding is an absolutely outrageous barbarity," Bardot said in a statement from her home in St. Tropez.

Foie gras - literally fattened liver - is a traditional French delicacy enjoyed by millions, particularly at Christmas and special occasions.

Force-feeding ducks and geese 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.

Story continues below…

Abeille's campaign was particularly badly received as producers are already battling an outbreak of bird flu.

Japan in December banned imports of French foie gras due to the outbreak of H5N1, which has been detected on 69 farms in southwestern France, where the bulk of French foie gras is produced.

Poultry farmers have been told that they can continue rearing the adult birds they have in production, but not raise any new chicks until their farms have been certified as sanitized.

France, which produces 75 percent of global foie gras, exported nearly 5,000 tonnes of it in 2014.

The thick liver pate is made by using a tube to force-feed corn into ducks and geese, fattening them to around four times their natural body weight.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available