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Comments by French president Hollande against Californian ban on foie gras are unacceptable

"Cynical comments on tortuous force-feeding of geese and ducks"

The animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has said the comments made by French president Francois Hollande about the Californian ban on foie gras are unacceptable. The president announced that he would fight for France's right to export Foie Gras, which is produced by the painful force-feeding of millions of geese and ducks, and that he would argue for France's right under free trade treaties to export a "good product" which "respects health norms and animal comfort". In the meantime, he added, he would "bombard" US political leaders with gifts of foie gras: "I wouldn't want the Americans to be deprived of it", he said jokingly.

"I'm shocked about the crass cynicism of president Hollande", says FOUR PAWS' campaign director Gabriel Paun. "Linking animal comfort with cruel methods of force-feeding animals that live in extremely small cages and eventually die of the consequences of the torture is absolutely unacceptable. And joking about this kind of cruelty to animals is even more cynical."

Millions of geese and ducks worldwide suffer during foie gras production; several times a day they are brutally force-fed until their liver becomes fatty and swells up tenfold. The force-feeding is fatal for the animals and some die prematurely.

In California, on 1 July a law banning the production and sale of foie gras came in to force. France produces 80 per cent of the world's foie gras – 19,500 tonnes a year. Almost all of the French foie gras is consumed in France. Just over 2 per cent is exported.

For years, FOUR PAWS has been fighting against the cruel practice. For campaign director Paun the Californian law is a milestone: "We hope that many countries will follow this measure. And we also hope we will eventually also reach the French population with our campaign. Once the French consumers boycott foie gras, this archaic and inhumane treatment of animals will finally come to an end".

Elisabeth Penz

Press Office Austria

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