Ukraine's last foie gras farm to be closed

Following an exposé published earlier this year, Ukrainian poultry company MHP will cease production at Ukraine's only foie gras farm.
calendar icon 1 August 2019
clock icon 3 minute read

Is this the death throes of foie gras? April this year animal protection organisation Open Cages published undercover footage from Ukraine’s only foie gras farm, where an undercover worker used a secret camera. Numerous UK restaurants responded by dropping foie gras from their menu following the expose. 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 claims to have sold 50,000 tonnes of foie gras in 2018.

The company today writes: "MHP believes 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." Following the ditching of foie gras from prestigious UK restaurateurs as James Thomson OBE, and the closing down of Ukraine’s last foie gras farm, 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 comments: “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.

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