Has the government just dropped its ban on fur and foie gras import? Environment Secretary suggests U-turn in bombshell interview

Author: Liam Gilliver

Read Time:   |  7th February 2023

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The UK government has reportedly ‘dropped’ its proposed ban on fur and foie gras imports, despite previous pledges to better animal welfare.


The government has reportedly dropped its proposed ban on fur and foie gras imports, despite mounting pressure from animal rights advocates.

Under Boris Johnson’s stint as Prime Minister, the Conservatives introduced an action plan for animal welfare which vowed to ‘introduce measures to protect the welfare of animals abroad’.

The Animals Abroad Bill – which would have put curbs on fur and foie gras imports, as well as hunting trophies, etc – was described as a way to ‘revolutionise the treatment of animals in the UK’.

However, last year cabinet members intervened to block the bill, with one senior Conservative arguing “banning things seems very socialist.”

‘We need to think through priorities’

Now, environment secretary Therese Coffey has suggested the bill be shelved completely, as she unveils her dream to become the ‘voice of the countryside’.

“Animal welfare is very important,” Coffey said in an interview with The Telegraph

“All I would say right now is that we need to think through priorities. We stand by the welfare action plan, but there’s only so [much] time that we can get the legislation.”

She added that the Government will continue to ‘support’ action to ban trophy hunting imports and live animal imports. 

The Independent states a government source refused to deny that the import ban would be scrapped, adding the government had to “prioritise certain things”.


Fur and foie gras imports

Farmers in the UK are already prohibited from producing foie gras due to its cruel production process which involves force-feeding ducks and geese.

According to the vegan charity PETA, this is done by ‘ramming’ a pipe down the animal’s throats twice daily and pumping their stomachs with up to 2.2lb of grain and fat.

The organisation adds that many birds have ‘difficulty standing because their engorged livers distend their abdomens’ and explains how ‘they may tear out their own feathers and attack each other out of stress’.

Similarly, fur farming in the UK has been banned since 200 following years of protest from animal-rights advocates.

However, the country still allows both of these products to enter Britain annually – and without the Animals Abroad Bill – this will continue to happen.

‘Misleading reports’

Following reports that the government was reportedly shelving its plans to ban imports, The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has responded to correct the claims.

The governing body has issued a statement correcting “misleading” news reports in the Telegraph, Independent and Mail that the Government had dropped plans to consider banning imports of fur and foie gras.

In its statement, DEFRA confirms: “Future legislation to ban the imports of fur and foie gras has not been “dropped” or “shelved”” but blames limited Parliamentary time for lack of progress.

Article updated on February 8th to include DEFRA’s comments.

Want to learn how to create your own foie gras that’s completely cruelty-free? Check out this delicious vegan foie gras recipe

Written by

Liam Gilliver

Liam is a journalist working for the Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! Magazine. He's also the author of We're Worried About Him and has been published in the likes of The Independent, Huffington Post, and Attitude Magazine.

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