14th April 2008
Photo call: Wendy Turner-Webster urges county council to ban cruel p?t
Staffordshire born TV celebrity campaigns for ?tortured? ducks and geese
Presenter of popular TV shows such as Pet Rescue, and patron of leading animal group Viva!, Wendy Turner-Webster is campaigning to make her home county a kinder place to live by making Staffordshire foie-gras free.
She will hand in a personally signed letter and evidence of the cruelty involved in its production to the head of the county council, John Taylor, urging the authority to pass a motion to become the first in Britain to become officially foie-gras free. She will be joined by her husband and cosignee ? TV actor Gary Webster ? and a giant duck from Viva!, who will be holding a placard declaring ?Foie-gras free Staffordshire now!?. Viva! are running a national campaign to highlight the animal suffering caused by what has been dubbed ?torture in a tin?. York and Bolton city councils made headlines by banning foie-gras last year.
The move comes after Wendy became aware of foie-gras ? a product that would be illegal to produce in this country ? being currently or recently sold by businesses in Staffordshire*. She has personally written asking them to stop selling it and join the campaign for a foie-gras free Staffordshire. Wendy is also urging the council to contact the businesses, urging them to stop selling it.
Wendy says: ?There is nothing humane about mechanically inducing disease in a bird by forcing a pipe down his throat and making him consume such an abnormal quantity of food that his liver expands many times its normal size. I?m urging my home county of Staffordshire to be trailblazer for animal welfare and give this cruel p?t? the boot. The county council has the power to officially ban foie-gras from their buildings and educate local businesses. Those businesses can vote for welfare by taking it off their menus. Of course, all the people of Staffs can do their bit by vowing to boycott it ? and even better end all animal suffering by going veggie!?
Notes to editors
To arrange an interview with Wendy and Gary please contact Justin Kerswell or press officer Helen Rossiter on 0117 944 1000 (or 07977 463057 on the day). For more information, photos and a fully referenced factsheet on Viva!?s campaign for a foie-gras free Britain visit www.viva.org.uk/foiegras
A copy of the motion is available of request.
* Staffordshire businesses that have been contacted by Wendy who currently sell foie-gras, or have done in the past:
The Swan Hotel, Stafford
The Moathouse Hotel & Restaurant, Acton Trussell
Seasons Restaurant at Swinfen Hall Hotel, Lichfield
Three Horseshoes Inn, Leek
?Rag? Restaurant & Public House, Rawnsley, Nr Cannock
Foie-gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese large amounts of food so that their livers swell to up to ten times the normal size. A pipe is shoved down the bird?s oesophagus and food is forced into the stomach. The process is repeated two or three times daily for two to three weeks until the birds develop fatty liver disease. The birds are then slaughtered. Over 90 per cent of birds used in foie-gras production are ducks, with around a million birds dying during force-feeding each year.
It is not produced in Britain, as the Government has made it clear that its production would contravene existing animal welfare regulations. However, tons are legally imported each year. Minister Lord Rooker has told Viva! the Government are currently considering loopholes in EU legislation which may allow a ban on imports of foie-gras, because of public morality and animal welfare concerns. Its production has been outlawed in Poland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Israel.
The group persuaded UK branches of Lidl and Makro to pull foie-gras and was instrumental in Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason decision to drop it. The BBC has told Viva! that they will not cater with foie-gras in the future and are considering dropping it from future editions of shows such as Masterchef. The Marriot hotel chain has also said that it is likely they would remove foie-gras from future menus. Prince Charles has told the group that he against foie-gras for ethical reasons, and London Mayor Ken Livingstone has publicly backed the campaign. Viva! have produced their own satirical on-line film on foie-gras, which can be viewed at www.viva.org.uk/foiegras.