The following article from the Australian, November 7, presents a great opportunity for letters to the editor.
The Australian takes letters at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/files/aus_letters.htm
November 7, 2005 Monday All-round Country Edition
WORLD; Pg. 15
Bond actor licensed to kill off the foie gras industry
The Sunday Times
THE French parliament has declared foie gras a national institution in the face of what it sees as a growing Anglo-Saxon plot against the prized duck and goose liver pate.
Producers of the delicacy have been enraged by a campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a US animal rights group. A film produced by the group and narrated by actor Roger Moore, 78, shows in graphic detail how the birds that go to make foie gras are force-fed with corn until their livers swell to 10 times normal size.
"Imagine having pipes jammed down your throat and food pumped into your stomach," the former James Bond star declares in the film. "Please join me and countless other kind people in never eating foie gras."
It is not the first time that star power has been harnessed by the anti-foie gras campaign -- Brigitte Bardot, the French actor, has been fighting the exclusive industry for years. But so closely is Moore associated with his 007 role that the French see his appearance on the front line of the pate wars as part of a British plot to undermine French agriculture.
"The British want to stop our agricultural subsidies," said Bernard Courtois, a foie gras merchant from Pau, in southwestern France, referring to British Prime Minister Tony Blair's calls for reforms of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. "And now it seems they are deploying agent 007 against our foie gras."
The film is to be distributed among British chefs in the hope that images of ducks and geese being force-fed will revolt them into a foie gras boycott. Britain imports about 150 tonnes of French foie gras a year. The French response has been swift. The lower house of parliament unanimously passed a bill last week declaring that foie gras was "part of the cultural and gastronomic patrimony, protected in France".
Foie gras is a focal point of French Christmas festivities. An estimated 18,500 tonnes were eaten over the festive season last year. Recently, however, the animal rights campaigners have notched up notable triumphs. Israel -- once the fourth-largest producer after France, Hungary and Bulgaria -- has now outlawed production.
That followed a similar decision by Italy in 2003. California is to ban sales of foie gras obtained by force-feeding from 2012 after intense lobbying from celebrities such as actor Kim Basinger and musician Paul McCartney.
The French foie gras bill concluded that concerns were unfounded. Research shows "in an incontestable way" that claims of cruelty are untrue, it stated. But Moore is not convinced. "Tell your friends, relatives and restaurant owners that foie gras is a disease, not a delicacy," he says in the film.
(END OF AUSTRALIAN PIECE)
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Date: Tue Nov 8 10:36:56 2005