Actress and animal rights activist graced the halls of France’s National Assembly yesterday, to advocate on behalf of the foie gras law, designed to ban force-feeding of geese and ducks to enlarge their livers (known as gavage). The bill has been proposed by the MP Laurence Abeille of France’s Green party.
“I have come to France to express my opposition to an industry that is as cruel as the baby seal massacre, that of the bad treatment of ducks and geese for a non essential product, foie gras,” she stated during a media event. “I ask French MPs to abolish force-feeding. Foie gras is not a healthy product and has no place in a civilized society.”
Although Abeille admitted that she had not invited the actress to come, she was seen beaming as the press shot endless pictures of Anderson. Instead, Anderson’s appearance actually came at the behest of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, with which Anderson has worked to protect seals. However, not all the legislators were as taken with the American celebrity, some of which chose to denounce her publicly, including Socialist MP Jean-Michel Clément told France Bleu radio: “I’m totally indifferent to her. To me she represents everything I dislike including the superficial … she does no honor to the institution I am privileged to have a seat in.”
In addition, a statement released by foie gras producers’ professional organization said they were “astonished that an elected member of the Republic should pull such a publicity stunt by choosing an American actress from the 1980s to condemn the production of one of the jewels of French gastronomy and culture.”
Cifog also stated it was “indecent” that she should be asked to back the ban when “thousands of jobs in the industry are threatened” because of the threat of bird flu,” while countryside movement Chasse, Pêche, Nature et Traditions (Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Traditions) said Abeille preferred “birds inflated with silicon to the fine geese filled with the corn of the Landes and the Périgord”.
In turn, the UK Guardian reported that Abeille returned fire by attacking what she called.” particularly shocking, sexist, macho and misogynist comments”.
Anderson, who has also raised negative publicity by participating in anti-fur campaigns for PETA, has her own animal rights foundation, In December, she was admitted to the Kremlin in Moscow, where she criticized whale fishing, seal hunting and the treatment of polar bears in the wild.