With legislation already in place to end force-feeding in Flanders, animal rights organisation GAIA has again called on the Wallonia government to end the inhumane process used in the production of foie gras.
Alongside other regional animal rights groups (UWPA and FéFRACAF), an official petition was filed with the Walloon parliament, calling for an end to gavage – the French term for the force feeding process. The practice is widely regarded as being cruel to the animals and the mortality rate of birds undergoing gavage is around 20 times higher than that of normally-raised birds.
Pipes are forced down the gullets of ducks and geese to pump the animals with food, forcing them to grow rapidly in weight and develop fatty livers, which are consumed as a delicacy across France, Belgium, and the world. Force feeding has been banned in several countries, including Israel, Germany, the U.K, and Switzerland.
The European Union originally aimed to “phase out” the force-feeding of birds by 2020, but this has not been achieved.
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The animal rights associations have now filed an official joint petition to the Walloon parliament, demanding that the parliament officially bring an end to force-feeding. So far, over 1,000 signatures have been gathered and the matter will eventually be subject to debate in the Walloon parliament.
In a press release on 31 May, GAIA stated that around 70% of Wallonia residents would be in favour of such a ban. Flanders and the Brussels-Capital region have already ruled in favour of the ban.
“Wallonia does not position itself in favour of animal welfare in the context of this case,” GAIA stated.
In April alone, 25 million animals were slaughtered in Belgium. While most farms follow animal welfare requirements, a series of high-profile scandals have put industry malpractice in the spotlight.
Belgians are becoming more inclined to follow a vegetarian diet. In Brussels, at least 45% of meat-eaters in the capital wish to reduce their meat intake, often for ethical reasons.