Brussels bans foie gras production

The Brussels region is banning the production of foie gras across Brussels. Foie gras is a food, a delicacy for some, made from the livers of geese that were specially fed so that their livers became very large.
© Christian Goupi - www.belgaimage.be

The ban is part of a clamp down on all force-feeding across the Belgian and Flemish capital. Bianca Debaets, secretary of state for animal welfare, says that Brussels is setting an example.

Together with France, Spain, Bulgaria and Hungary Belgium is one of five countries that produces foie gras. A change in legislation dating from 1986 now means that the production is banned in the capital. The ban is largely symbolic as there are currently no foie gras producers in Brussels, but the regional authorities hopes that others will follow its lead.

Recent research commissioned by the animal rights' organisation GAIA showed that 84% of Belgians support a ban on the force feeding of animals.

Bianca Debaets: "Force-feeding boils down to torture. I cannot permit it."

"Animals are forced to ingest large quantities of food. This creates an awful lot of stress for the animals and they experience breathing difficulties. The animal's liver can grow to weigh up to 1 kilo. Under normal circumstances this is barely 100 grams."