In a clamp down on all force-feeding, the Brussels region is banning the production of foie gras across Brussels.
The ban is part of a clamp down on all force-feeding across the Belgian and Flemish capital. Bianca Debaets, secretary of state for animal welfare, says that Brussels is setting an example.
It’s hard to imagine anything more unethical than the foie gras industry, in which workers shove long metal tubes down ducks’ and geese’s throats in order to pump large quantities of grain into their stomachs several times a day. This causes their livers to swell to up to 10 times their normal size, and when they’re eventually slaughtered, the fatty, diseased organs are sold as foie gras.
Together with France, Spain, Bulgaria and Hungary Belgium is one of five countries that produces foie gras. A change in legislation dating from 1986 now means that the production is banned in the capital. The ban is largely symbolic as there are currently no foie gras producers in Brussels, but the regional authorities hopes that others will follow its lead.
Foie gras production is illegal in the UK and more than a dozen other European countries – including Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands – and more and more countries around the world are outlawing the cruel practice of force-feeding birds. It’s high time that Belgium followed suit.
Recent research commissioned by the animal rights’ organisation GAIA showed that 84% of Belgians support a ban on the force feeding of animals.
Bianca Debaets: “Force-feeding boils down to torture. I cannot permit it.”
“Animals are forced to ingest large quantities of food. This creates an awful lot of stress for the animals and they experience breathing difficulties. The animal’s liver can grow to weigh up to 1 kilo. Under normal circumstances this is barely 100 grams.”