24 June 2011

TV crime fighter detects 'fowl play' in the case of foie gras

On the hit CBS series The Mentalist, hunky Welsh actor Owain Yeoman plays a special agent whose job is to investigate horrible criminal acts. But this avid vegetarian is a committed crime fighter in real life too—as he has joined the battle against one of the cruelest crimes against animals: the torture of ducks and geese in order to produce the "delicacy" known as foie gras.

Teaming up with PETA U.K., Yeoman is among many Brits using their celebrity to pressure the posh London department store, Fortnum & Mason, to stop selling foie gras. Recently, Yeoman appeared at a "crime scene" in front of Fortnum's, complete with police tape and chalk body outlines representing the victims—in this case the hapless birds who are force-fed enormous quantities of grains and fat in order to artificially enlarge their livers to up to 10 times their normal size. In modern fois gras factory farms, birds are confined in tiny wire cages where, several times a day, they are grabbed by a worker who shoves a long metal tube all the way down their throats so that a mechanized pump can shoots feed directly into their bodies.

Even though fifteen countries, including the U.K., have banned the force-feeding of animals for foie gras production, loopholes exist that allow foie gras to be sold. Yeoman responded to this incongruity by saying:
"In the UK, foie gras production is literally a criminal procedure—so why is a shop that prides itself on its British heritage still selling this cruel product? We're encouraging all compassionate people to shop elsewhere until Fortnum & Mason stops selling foie gras."
Several other British celebrities, including Roger Moore, Kate Winslet, Twiggy, and most recently Ricky Gervais, have spoken out against the heinous product, which all major U.K. supermarkets have refused to stock. Although much of the British public objects to the cruel comestible, it is still sold across Britain, with Fortnum & Mason (said to be Queen Elizabeth's favorite store) among the most notable culprits.

The PETA U.K. website has an excellent feature page (click here to access) on the current campaign against Fortnum & Mason, which features a short video narrated by Kate Winslet as well as a petition you can sign asking the London retailer to take the compassionate step of removing foie gras from their shelves.

Elizabeth Gordon | Facebook
Elizabeth is an Asian-Appalachian writer, activist, and college professor living in north central Massachusetts. Once an avowed carnivore, she was a vegetarian for 15 years before making the conversion to veganism. She is passionate about trying to live a life that lessens, rather than contributes to, the amount of cruelty and suffering in this world. Follow Elizabeth on her Vegosphere blog and Facebook page.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/currybet