Bill Oddie, one of Britain’s best-loved naturalists – who has been a permanent fixture on TV screens for more than 40 years – was presented with an award from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) at a prestigious ceremony held at the Royal Air Force Club in the West End of London last weekend.
The award, for “coming to the aid of birds violently abused in the foie gras industry”, was presented to the celebrity twitcher by the animal rights organization’s founder, Ingrid E Newkirk.
“Bill loves birds, and he’s always willing to lend a hand when they’re in trouble”, says PETA Manager Mimi Bekhechi. “He has done more to help the ducks and geese abused on foie gras farms than anyone else in his profession.”
Last month, Oddie slammed the BBC, his former employer, for “condoning dreadful cruelty” in its promotion of foie gras on the Great British Menu. Oddie accused the broadcaster of a lack of “moral concern” for refusing to remove recipes for the “torture in a tin” from its website. After writing to the boss of Fortnum & Mason last year, Oddie dressed as Santa Claus to crash the unveiling of the store’s Christmas windows in order to call on the “Queen’s grocer” to stop selling foie gras – a product so vile that it’s illegal produce in the UK.
To produce foie gras, ducks and geese are force-fed several times a day for weeks until their livers become diseased and expand to up to 10 times their normal size. Investigations into foie gras farms have documented sick, dead and dying birds – some with holes in their necks from pipe injuries. One investigation found that ducks with bloody beaks and twisted wings were crammed into small wire cages. Many birds become severely depressed and sit shaking as they await the next assault.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.