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Somerset MP David Heath says avoid foie gras

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 15, 2012

David Heath

David Heath

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Agriculture Minister David Heath has urged consumers not to buy foie gras because of the inhumane method of producing it.

Food producers are banned from force-feeding geese or ducks to make the luxury product in the UK, but the product is still available from fine food specialists and in restaurants.

“What I would say, and I am expressing a personal view here, is that people shouldn’t buy foie gras because of the method of production,” Mr Heath said.

Mr Heath, who assumed the role of Farming Minister in the summer reshuffle, told the Commons he was “far from convinced” there was an alternative humane method of production and consumers should think about what they chose to purchase.

Speaking during a Commons debate on animal welfare, the Liberal Democrat minister, who represents Somerton and Frome, said: “I think it is up to people to make their own decision about what they choose to buy. But I have to say unless there is a humane way of producing it – I am far from convinced there is – then they should make that decision when they decide what to put into their shopping trolley – I suspect foie gras is very rarely put into a shopping trolley – but what they ask people to provide for them.”

Mr Heath added: “We have taken a view in this country it is a legal import and therefore there is no constraint that we can place in the way of importation, but we can ask people to think very carefully about what they buy.”

He was responding to a question from Labour’s Chris Williamson who asked him to prevent the “cruel practice which takes place on the continent

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  • Charlespk  |  December 18 2012, 12:43PM

    Some people are still making idle 'threats'. http://tinyurl.com/bwf2ugp

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  • Freeborn_John  |  December 18 2012, 11:31AM

    Hmmm... what a good idea Mr Heath... Boycott things you don't agree with! Methinks you might end up regretting those words.

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  • Charlespk  |  December 17 2012, 2:51PM

    A badgerist's convention. Always totally without any intellectual vigour.

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  • Charlespk  |  December 17 2012, 2:44PM

    Never one to waste an opportunity given to me on a plate. Hypocrisy!!? . Alan Petrie knows all about that!! Denial: Unconsciously refusing to accept the full facts or magnitude of some circumstances, in order to minimise or prevent an otherwise inevitable anxiety or similar unpleasant feeling such as anger, guilt, shame, frustration, etc. EMAIL SENT/RECEIVED April 2nd. 2006 County Times. Powys, Mid Wales. "Dear Mary, This is winding up into something very nasty. We were told about the problem last autumn, but the newspapers / media had very little on it. Local vets and farmers knew and fed us bits. This (below) was published 30th. March, and our source has now had another conversation with SVS vets and private vets in the area. In the late 1990's just a couple of farms were under bTb restriction, but that has now surged to become 30/40. Dead badgers have been found in the area, including one on school playing fields. This carcass was taken to test for 'poison'. but HSE stepped in and stopped the post-mortem - inadequate Group 3 pathogen facilities (?). . It was riddled. SVS sent letters to Welsh Assembly / Page St. and they were lost stolen or strayed. The whole episode was buried. Page St. wanted absolutely no positive Tb badgers. In the last 3/4 years eight or nine children, not including this little one, have had treatment for enlarged neck glands. This involved either a 6 month course of antibiotics, or operations to remove. . Classic m.bovis lesions I'm told (by a vet) but referred euphemistically by doctors as "Atypical tuberculosis from a non human source". They are telling these kids, that they picked it up from the ground. The badgers use the school playing fields as latrines, and a newish housing estate borders the same farmland too. We're ignoring those canaries again. (reactor cows)" SCROFULA caused by Mycobacterium bovis infection. Classic M.bovis lesions I'm told (by a vet), but referred euphemistically by doctors as "Atypical tuberculosis from a non human source". They are telling these kids, that they picked it up from the ground. http://tinyurl.com/9r6ennv

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  • fischadler  |  December 17 2012, 11:03AM

    This man talks of boycotts well lets see how he likes a boycott of milk and beef if the cruel badger cull goes ahead.

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  • 1forthegood  |  December 16 2012, 10:02AM

    Yes the production of foie gras is a cruel practice ,and yes to condemn this while defending the badger cull or any other persecution of our wildlife is hypocritical ,but more so just an example of political expediency as with hanging on to 19th 20th cent technology regarding energy,yet pandering to the pro GM food and factory farm lobby,using the we must grow more food ploy,while glibly ignoring the billions of tons wasted and grown for bio fuels annually , it is this which is pushing up the price of food.It is this and the culture of we must have cheaper an cheaper food,pushing the farming industry into more cruel system so that those demanding cheaper and cheaper food can afford to booze ,smoke,buy and use mobile phones and internet,eat and waste tons of junk food and but trivia ,this is the big crisis facing farmer and growers not badgers foxes or any other specie. Because our politicians think short term,and look who dictates policies in our countryside the agrochemical industry ,blood sports ,because they pay the piper,and we the mere farmer grower rural/urban dweller are ignore when ever possible ,so we never move to a more long term more caring society as long as such cosy relationships are changed.

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  • stevenmichael  |  December 15 2012, 7:03PM

    For David Heath to say that there should be a personal boycott of foie gras; speaks of hypocrisy at the highest level. I agree that it is an obscene reflection upon the farmers that produce such a product, but then a great deal of cruelty goes on within our own shores the magnitude of which needs equal attention. Let us just consider this: An indigenous wild animal that has been living alongside man for thousands of years suddenly finds itself in the sites of gunmen. The purpose of this is not to take out sick individuals, but to render family units incapable of sustaining themselves and to nurture a lack lustre population that will in due course become stressed and susceptible to disease. The purpose of this is because we think that the population of these creatures is too great and that they have become diseased. Do we know how many there are – NO. We do not know the population of badgers in the UK; some people think that it has doubled in a matter of months even despite one of the worst summers on record. What percentage of these animals are sick? WE DON'T KNOW. It is reasonable to assume that if numbers have risen so dramatically and in such a short time and during such a poor year that this creature must be a bit of a success story and must be, therefore, sustaining a healthy population. Do they spread disease to other animals? – WE DON'T KNOW. Certainly as far as cattle are concerned it is very unlikely. A reservoir of infection has been building up in cattle herds during the past thirty years. This has not and continues not to be addressed effectively. Is it scientific – NO. The majority of science is now against the cull of this species, in order to alleviate a disease that is controllable with the correct approach and management systems in place. Is it humane – NO. To Free Shoot an animal in the dark is is a difficult thing to do, even for the most professional of assassins. You would be lucky to have one clean shot of one animal. Further attempts that were made on escaping victims would only maim and injure. Theses unfortunate creatures would die in a slow and painful way especially due the fact that they were the healthiest individuals to begin with. Is it a popular decision – NO. Farmers themselves expect a 40% backlash from the public should a cull take place. They cannot afford this for consumers are increasingly conscious of how their food is produced. Are there any parallels to draw on this subject – YES. A Government Minister is calling for an abstention of conscience when deciding to purchase food stuffs that are particularly inhumane as to their production. Will the general public follow this Minister in his moral stance on a cruel method of production? – YES. People seem increasingly aware of how their food is produced and they wish to engage with their environment in a holistic and humane way. What is this animal called? It is called WILDLIFE. This Government has vowed to bare down hard on British wildlife in order to stifle disease. Why are they doing this? Because the hierarchy of farmers believe THAT IT'S NOT HOW YOU FARM IT'S WHERE YOU FARM!! Is there an alternative approach – YES. Visit http://tinyurl.com/c9uhz94

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  • Ted_F  |  December 15 2012, 11:53AM

    Political displacement activity at its finest. Agriculture is facing a whole raft of serious problems in the UK and this clown urges us to avoid 'posh meat paste'?

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  • 2ladybugs  |  December 15 2012, 11:45AM

    Get over yourself Alan. Mr. Heath is talking REAL cruelty here. The culling of any animal is not deemed to be cruelty by any stretch of the imagination. You may not LIKE animals being killed but it is necessary to keep most wildlife in good health. If it doesn't happen naturally i.e. predators taking them out, then it has to be done artificially. Still I wouldn't expect anything else from you and that is to turn an excellent comment from David Heath into something loaded towards your beliefs.

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  • fischadler  |  December 15 2012, 10:51AM

    Completely agree with Mr Heath on this topic but is he not being a bit hypocrital when he wants to slaughter thousands of badgers?

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