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Air New Zealand Draws Praise On Ethics Issue

Air New Zealand Draws Praise On Ethics Issue

Air New Zealand's unambiguous response to an ethical issue has drawn praise from the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

The airline has written to the SPCA, confirming that it will no longer include pâté de foie gras on inflight menus.

Pâté de foie gras, a traditional European "delicacy", is produced through the regular force-feeding of ducks or geese, a practice which is now internationally condemned by animal welfare advocates.

In addition to announcing that foie gras is no longer to feature on inflight menus for the airline's premium classes, Air New Zealand is to include a policy statement in its Food and Wine strategy to ensure that products "of this nature" will be excluded in future.

"We wrote to Air New Zealand recently after receiving a complaint that foie gras had been served on an international flight," says the Royal New Zealand SPCA's Chief Executive Officer, Peter Blomkamp. . "We are more than a little impressed by Air New Zealand's unambiguous and decisive action in response to our approach. The airline has set an excellent example of how major corporates should behave when faced with ethical issues," he says.

Mr Blomkamp adds that there has been a threefold increase in global production of pâté de foie gras over the past decade, as a result of new factory-farm production methods, which are in many respects even less humane than those traditionally employed.

"According to our colleagues in the World Society for the Protection of Animals, birds are typically kept in cages so small they are unable to stand or stretch their wings. They are commonly fed by forcing a pneumatic pump down the throat, which injects half a kilo of maize and fat in a few seconds.

"This awful process gets repeated two or three times a day for up to three weeks. Many birds die prematurely from cardiac or renal failure or liver haemorrhage. If they live long enough to be slaughtered, their livers may be swollen to ten times the normal size," he says.

"It would certainly have been unfortunate if our national airline's overseas passengers had gained the impression that these barbaric practices were acceptable to New Zealanders. Hopefully, other airlines will now follow Air New Zealand's example and wipe foie gras for ever from their menus, if they have not already done so," Mr Blomkamp adds.

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