24th April 2008
?Torture Burgers? off the menu at Burger King
Fast food chain dumps foie-gras burger after protests
VIVA! ? Europe?s largest campaigning vegetarian organisation ? is claiming victory today after Burger King scrapped a proposal to use foie-gras in a ?luxury? charity burger.
Following reports in the press, Viva! contacted the chain detailing the abject cruelty involved in the production of the ?delicacy? which has been dubbed ?torture in a tin?. Within 24 hours the plans had been dropped.
Viva! also urged the group to introduce and promote a low-carbon vegan burger as a better way to help people and protect the planet. Viva! claims that the consumption of beef burgers is a driving force behind global warming (with animal agriculture responsible for more global warming gases than the entire world?s transport systems combined ? according to the UN); water scarcity; world hunger, as crops are grown to feed animals rather than people; deforestation to grow crops and graze cattle; and the obesity epidemic in the developed world.
Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: ?Burger King?s proposed foie-gras burger was wrong on so many levels. It is incredible that they would seek to trivialise the suffering of force-fed birds in the name of cheap publicity. You would think it?s enough that they are already responsible for the deaths of countless animals through their fast food joints.
?It is also unbelievable that, as the world is gripped by a growing food shortage ? due to crops being fed to farmed animals rather than people ? that Burger King are pushing a luxury burger as people are starving in developing countries. If they really want to help the world around them, the best way they could do this is end beef production and becomes the first worldwide vegan burger chain! Consumers can do their bit for the environment and help end all animal suffering by taking the veggie option.?
Notes to Editors
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. They 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.
The move by Burger King comes weeks after Prince Charles confirmed to the group that he had instructed his chefs not to use the controversial p?t?. London?s famous Fortnum & Mason store also dropped duck foie-gras after a peaceful demonstration by Viva! before Christmas. London Mayor Ken Livingstone has also backed Viva!?s campaign for a foie-gras free Britain.
Foie-gras 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 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. Viva! have produced their own satirical on-line film on foie-gras, which can be viewed at www.viva.org.uk/foiegras.
A fully referenced factsheet on foie-gras production can be read at For more information on the campaign, photos or video of foie-gras production, contact Justin Kerswell or press officer Helen Rossiter on 0117 944 1000 or visit www.viva.org.uk/foiegras