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Parliamentary questions
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30 January 2017
E-000545-17
Question for written answer E-000545-17
to the Commission
Rule 130
Isabella De Monte (S&D)

 Subject:  Mortality rates and worsening of the treatment of animals
 Answer in writing 

The ‘The welfare of ducks during foie gras production’, report drawn up in 2015 by Cambridge University, mentions details of two studies: ‘The average weight of a foie gras liver produced in the male mulard duck is from 300 g to 560 g or more (Babilé et al 1996, Litt and Pé 2015). With such a large fatty liver, mortality rates increase so a focus of production companies is to reduce the duration of the force-feeding period (Guémené and Guy 2004)’.

Such practices are aimed at reducing financial loss by further increasing force-feeding within a shorter period, in order to meet the minimum weights required by Commission Regulation 543/2008. Animals have to develop steatosis faster, in order to maximise profit.

Regulation 543/2008, approved 10 years after the report by the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW), is producing evident detrimental effects on the welfare of animals used in foie gras production. Two isolated inspections since 1998 by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) clearly have not had any practical impact.

— Is the Commission doing something to avoid the worsening of the treatment of animals used in foie gras production? If so, what?— When will the Commission consider it appropriate to propose the deletion of minimum weights from Regulation 543/2008?

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