Miriam Margolyes is one of a number of well-known people who signed a letter to Rishi Sunak demanding that foie gras imports are outlawed
Miriam Margolyes is among several celebrities calling on the government to outlaw foie gras imports following suggestions that the proposed ban has been dropped.
She signed a letter to Rishi Sunak, alongside Peter Egan, Mark Rylance, Alesha Dixon and others, branding the product ‘torture in a tin’.
The letter, which was coordinated by Animal Equality UK and PETA, follows reports that a proposed ban on importing foie gras has been dropped, after environment secretary Thérèse Coffey suggested it wasn’t a priority.
A ban had been proposed during Boris Johnson’s stint as Prime Minister, as part of the Conservatives’ 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 – was described as a way to ‘revolutionise the treatment of animals in the UK’.
But in an interview with the Telegraph, Coffey suggested that the government didn’t have time to bring in the legislation.
She said: “Animal welfare is very important…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.”
However, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has said ‘future legislation to ban the imports of fur and foie gras has not been “dropped” or “shelved”,’ and blames limited Parliamentary time for lack of progress.
Letter signed by Miriam Margolyes
The letter says: “Permitting the importation of foie gras flies in the face of the values held by most Brits, who outright reject this ‘torture in a tin’ …
“The government has been ‘exploring’ a ban for years, and ministers stated in 2021 that such legislation would be introduced ‘in the next few months’.
“Yet here we are, in 2023, with no legislation in sight, while birds continue to suffer and die. We must end the UK’s complicity in this appalling trade.”
It adds that ministers should follow the example of King Charles, who has banned royal residences from serving the product.
The letter concludes: “Not only is foie gras horrifically cruel, but in the midst of a cost of living crisis in which so many are concerned about how they will put food on the table, it’s out of touch and frankly grotesque that the government continues to defend the import and sale of a vile product that costs around £95 a tin.”
Speaking about the importation of foie gras, Abigail Penny, the executive director of Animal Equality UK, said: “If foie gras is too cruel to produce here, it should be too cruel to import too.
“Brits care deeply about protecting animals; this legislation must be made a priority.”
Elisa Allen, Peta UK’s vice-president of programmes, added: “The vast majority of British people – including King Charles – reject foie gras.
“A ban on force-feeding animals to produce this ‘torture in a tin’ is already in place in the UK, and we now have an opportunity to keep it out of the country altogether.”
A government spokesperson told the Guardian: “The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and as set out in our action plan for animal welfare, we are committed to building a clear evidence base to inform future decisions on these issues.
“We are currently gathering information and speaking to a range of interested parties to help us do this.”
Featured image credit: Ian Gavan via Getty Images
You don’t need to hurt animals to enjoy the flavour of foie gras. Check out this delicious vegan foie gras recipe instead