FamilyMart drops foie gras ‘bento’

AFP-JIJI

FamilyMart has canceled the launch of a foie gras “bento” (boxed lunch) after receiving complaints from animal-rights activists, a company spokesman said Thursday.

“We understand foie gras is a common food in Japan,” a spokesman for the major convenience store chain said. However, the launch was canceled after “carefully considering opinions from customers, different views abroad on foie gras and the production process of foie gras itself.”

“We don’t intend to make anyone feel uncomfortable,” he added.

The ¥690 gourmet bento consisted of a meat patty with foie gras paste. It was shelved after more than 20 people objected to the way the traditional French delicacy is produced.

Animal rights campaigners object to foie gras because it involves the forced feeding of tightly penned ducks or geese to engorge their livers, a process activists say is painful for the creatures, which in most cases are unable to move around.

The chain, which has around 10,000 stores nationwide, had received 22 complaints since it announced the bento on Jan. 10.

Animal rights activism remains a fringe interest in Japan, largely a nation of omnivore gourmands.

The bento issue came amid international concern over the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, where hundreds of the mammals are herded into a cove either to be sold to aquariums or butchered for meat.