Open Cages published undercover footage from Ukraine’s only foie gras farm in April, where an undercover worker used a secret camera.
Numerous UK restaurants responded to the expose by dropping foie gras from their menu. The company operating the farm today announced an ‘End of operations’ following international pressure. This farm is the only facility in Ukraine officially producing foie gras.
The conditions documented include birds being thrown violently from the truck into cages, metal feeding pipes lubricated with engine oil being shoved down the bird’s throats to pump them full of food, and injured and dead birds being left to suffer or rot in piles.
Force feeding is standard practice on most foie gras farms, to fatten the animals’ livers so they swell to ten times their normal size and become diseased. They are then slaughtered and their ‘fatty liver’ sold as foie gras.
The largest Ukrainian poultry producer MHP claimes to have sold 50,000 tonnes of foie gras in 2018.
MHP wrote that they no longer "believe that the production of foie gras is not consistent with the Company’s strategy and policy of being a global leader in E&S and Animal Welfare."
Many more UK restaurants are expected to drop the product. As of September, Ukraine will have ceased all foie gras production.
Open Cages CEO Connor Jackson said: “It’s hard to believe that foie gras even exists. Force feeding animals until their liver swells 10 times bigger is simply barbaric, and the product’s ‘luxury’ label is almost laughable.
"We are absolutely thrilled to see this company choose to stand against needless suffering by shutting down. Any UK restaurants still serving foie gras will be taking a hard look in the mirror: animal cruelty is bad business.”
Open Cages is urging Michael Gove and the UK Government to ban the sale of foie gras, post Brexit, as well as calling on eateries to remove the product from their menu.
This article is based on a press release from Open Cages.