Pamela Anderson in foie gras storm

Pamela Anderson kicked up a storm in French parliament when she appeared there

Politicians react with disgust to Pamela Anderson’s parliament appearance to speak against foie gras

ACTRESS and model Pamela Anderson provoked outrage from politicians when she appeared at French parliament to champion a bill that would outlaw foie gras. This comes at a time when the industry that produces the delicacy is already threatened by bird flu.

The former Baywatch star gave a speech in the National Assembly building in support of a bill introduced by green party EELV to end the rearing of geese and ducks for foie gras, which she described as “a cruel tradition” that “has no place in the civilised world”.

The rearing of birds for foie gras usually involves force-feeding them to increase the size of their livers, which are then sold as a delicacy. The practice has long been criticised by campaigners for its cruelty.

However, foie gras is considered by many to be a gourmet food that epitomises French culture, and the bill introduced by green MP Laurence Abeille at the suggestion of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation has virtually no support in parliament, with MPs raising concerns over the 130,000 jobs the industry creates both directly and indirectly.

Germinal Peiro, Parti Socialiste agriculture spokesman, said: “The industry that depends on the rearing of ducks and geese is experiencing an unprecedented health crisis. At a time when farmers and the countryside generally need our support, it is totally irresponsible – and I measure my words – to organise this motion.”

Other politicians were incensed by the EELV’s invitation of a media personality that few would regard as a political heavyweight, in what they perceive as an attack on the institution of parliament.

Socialist MP Jean-Michel Clément said: “[Anderson] left me feeling completely indifferent. She represents everything I don’t like, the superficial. We don’t care if she is charming – this does not honour the institution in which I am proud to hold a seat.”

Christian Jacob, the leader of Les Républicains in the Assembly, condemned the invitation as pandering to “arch mediocrity”, adding: “I find this lamentable and unworthy [of parliament]. This is an attack on an industry that represents the excellence of French cuisine – throughout the world we export foie gras.”

The industry is struggling with a production freeze due to the spread of bird flu in south-west France, a major producing region, that could cost it up to €350million.

Photo: Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

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