BBC — November 18, 2022
Sean Coughlan, Royal Correspondent
King Charles is understood to have been a longstanding opponent of the food, made from the liver of a duck or goose, that campaigners say is cruel.
The King’s household wrote to the Peta campaign group that foie gras was not bought or served in royal residences.
There have been protests about force-feeding used to produce foie gras.
King Charles, when he was Prince of Wales, had been an advocate of higher welfare standards in farming and for over a decade had stopped the use of foie gras in his own properties and had been instrumental in a wider ban across royal residences.
A letter received by Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) confirms that a foie gras ban is in place across the Royal Household and for all royal residences, which would include Balmoral, Sandringham, Windsor Castle, Hillsborough Castle and Buckingham Palace.
Elisa Allen, vice president of the animal welfare group, welcomed this saying others should “follow the King’s lead and leave foie gras off the menu this Christmas and beyond”.
“Video footage of birds being painfully force-fed is enough to make anyone lose their lunch,” she said, describing how the livers of animals are engorged to produce the food.
The animal rights group has backed a “cruelty free” alternative called “faux gras” and is sending some of this to the King, which it says is in recognition of his “compassionate policy”.
There is a ban on the production of foie gras in the UK, but not a ban on its sale or importation.
But it will certainly not be on the menu next week for the first state visit of King Charles’s reign, when he hosts a state banquet in Buckingham Palace for the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Peta group is also campaigning for the use of fake fur instead of ermine for robes at the King’s coronation next May.
According to French law, foie gras is defined as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by gavage (force feeding).
Foie gras is sold whole or is prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté, and may also be served as an accompaniment to another food item, such as steak. French law states that “Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France.”
The technique of gavage dates as far back as 2500 BC, when the ancient Egyptians began keeping birds for food and deliberately fattened the birds through force-feeding.Today, France is by far the largest producer and consumer of foie gras, though there are producers and markets worldwide, particularly in other European nations, the United States, and China.
Gavage-based foie gras production is controversial, due mainly to the animal welfare concerns about force-feeding, intensive housing and husbandry, and enlarging the liver to 10 times its usual volume. A number of countries and jurisdictions have laws against force-feeding, as well as the production, import, or sale of foie gras.