Fortnum & Mason’s backs down on foie gras sales

After a public campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the actor Sir Roger Moore, the upscale department store decided not to carry the food product in its Dubai branch.

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A British animal rights group has announced the success of its campaign against foie gras after an exclusive department store brand decided not to offer the product at its new Dubai store.

Last week, Fortnum & Mason found itself in the middle of a controversy just days before opening a store near the Burj Khalifa, the first international operation in the company's 306-year history.

The brand faced criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which ran a high-profile campaign against plans to sell foie gras in Dubai. Peta's campaign featured the actor Sir Roger Moore, who called for a boycott of the new store.

The campaign achieved quick success.

“Fortnum & Mason’s decision not to sell foie gras in Dubai represents a significant step in getting this ‘torture in a tin’ out of all its stores,” said Sir Roger in a statement to media that was distributed by Peta.

“The company is tacitly acknowledging that this vile victual has no place in its future plans, and the next logical step would be for Fortnum to make this a companywide policy.”

Foie gras has been criticised by animal rights activists for decades on the basis of how geese and ducks are treated to produce the delicacy, which is made from the birds’ livers. During foie gras production, large amounts of grain and fat are poured into the birds’ stomachs using funnels that are placed down their throats several times a day. The birds’ livers swell up to ten times their normal size, causing extreme discomfort.

The department store is collaborating with Dubai’s Al Khayyat Investments on the project. The company was not immediately available for comment.