ugg boots with fur Roger Moore on why he won’t speak to anyone even his friends if they eat foie gras
When I played James Bond, I was used to fanciful scripts about violence and intimidation. And during 19 years campaigning for the children’s charity Unicef, I have come across appalling examples of inhumanity in the real world.
But I have seen few things so revolting and shaming as the horrendous routine cruelty to ducks and geese that goes into the production of one of the world’s so called culinary delicacies, foie gras.
So when PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) approached me three years ago to narrate a video about these ghastly practices in the hope of educating people everywhere against them, I agreed.
My life these days consists of travelling many thousands of miles a year, going everywhere from Lithuania to Africa. I still also make frequent screen appearances I am writing this in Italy where I am filming.
But after I had done a little research into the methods of foie gras production, I knew I had to find time to try to stop this barbaric trade which shames everyone who connives to keep it going, by eating the stuff, serving it or stocking it in their grocery shops.
Foie gras it means fatty liver is often served in the best circles, at premieres banquets and at weddings. Many people have had a taste of it on canapes. Others who eat in restaurants with French celebrity chefs are served great slabs of it.
Before I knew how it was produced I would often pick at it at parties just because it was on offer though I never ate too much of it because of its huge calorific content.
Since I have understood the cruelty attached to its production I have never touched it again. I now boycott restaurants where it is served.
And I refuse to speak to old friends who, even when they know how it is produced, are prepared to overlook the suffering for self gratification. My wife Christina feels just the same. No creature deserves to be treated as these birds are for our delectation.
The methods used are not for the squeamish. The birds are crammed into tiny crates where they can’t move at all and are force fed every three hours with 4lb of a corn mash mixture which swells inside them often literally to bursting point. In human terms it is the equivalent of eating 45lb of pasta a day.
In order to stuff these lethal quantities inside them, a metal funnel is jammed down their gullets, a process which often breaks their beaks and ruptures their innards.
This produces terrible suffering and, on occasion, a lingering painful death. The corpses are often left among the unfortunate ones which remain alive.
Those who survive then endure a repeat of this horrific process day in, day out. In some farms they livepluck their feathers at the same time to stuff our pillows.
And their torture goes on for weeks, only stopping when their livers,
utterly overladen with food, can’t cope any more.
They become so diseased that they are ready for killing. They are shackled upside down and their throats are cut. The poisoned livers are served under the name of foie gras.
Just one look at the internet video PETA has produced will convince any thinking human that these practices must not be allowed to continue and that foie gras can no longer pass the lips of any civilised person.
Quite apart from the pain inflicted on the ducks and geese, the bon viveur who piles it on to his plate is eating something so poisonous and fatty it is a quick route to a heart attack.
There are even surveys suggesting that eating foie gras can lead to Alzheimer’s, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. In short, eating foie gras is a tasty way of getting terminally ill.
And once you know how it is made, it really doesn’t taste so good. Abhorring cruelty to animals is not sentimental nonsense. We share the planet with these creatures who are often at our mercy.
It is our duty to treat them with the respect that all living things deserve. Where the foie gras birds are concerned, we are failing miserably in this duty.
The production methods are so horrific that PETA has had some success in their campaign.
In America it seems pretty certain that the production and sale of foie gras will be banned by 2012. In Switzerland, Israel and some ten other countries we have also achieved bans. But there is a lot more work to do.
In France, where they produce 80 per cent of the world’s foie gras, they see it as one of their prestige exports.
And though they are vociferous in complaining about the brutal manner in which sheep and cows are still transported across the EU, they don’t seem to see anything wrong in the torture going on in duck farms right across their country.
Sometimes, when I am in restaurants in France, I get the feeling there is a fatwah against me for trying to educate people not to eat their supposed delicacy.
In Britain it is illegal to produce foie gras, but not to sell it.
Though we have been successful in persuading some shops such as Marks Spencer, Waitrose and Harvey Nichols to take it off their shelves, it can still be bought in the food halls of stores such as Fortnum Mason, Harrods and Selfridges.
I decided to approach each one separately, in the hope that they would stop selling foie gras.
I started with Selfridges a year ago I wrote to the store asking them to join our campaign. I did not even receive the courtesy of a reply.