Baywatch alumni Pamela Anderson paid a visit to France‘s National Assembly yesterday to throw her support behind the proposed legislation to ban foie gras, a controversial French delicacy which involved force-feeding ducks and geese to pump up their livers (known as gavage).

Addressing the MPs – not all of whom were pleased to see her – Anderson called the practise as cruel as Canada‘s dark history of slaughtering baby seals.

“In many national cultures there seems to be at least one cruel tradition that stands out as identifying that culture, be it the bullfight in Spain, the eating of dogs in Korea, the slaughter of dolphins and whales by Japan or the bloody and obscene massacre of seals in my own native Canada.

“In 1977 Brigitte Bardot came to Canada to focus international attention upon the baby seal slaughter. I was 10 years old at the time yet she inspired me to actively oppose the cruel clubbing of seal pups and to recognise that animals must have a right to not be cruelly abused by humans.

“And now in honour of Brigitte Bardot, I as a Canadian, have come to France to voice my opposition to an industry that is equally as cruel as the baby seal massacre – the cruel treatment and slaughter of ducks and geese for another non-essential luxury product – foie gras!”

She tore shreds off both the production of the delicacy and the people who consume it.

“[It is a] a status product to be consumed by people who have chosen to disassociate themselves from the filth of the cages where the birds are born and subjected to months of agony in a human-created hell where the moans and shrill cries of pain echo through dark buildings where the light of the sun never penetrates and where the stench of rotting carcasses permeates the air.”

Okay, I think it’s fair if I just come out and say what we’re all thinking:

Pamela Anderson? Foie Gras? French Parliament???

Pamela Anderson Declares Open Season On Foie Gras, Pushes France For Ban

Event the MP who introduced the bill, Greens member Laurence Abeille, admitted that it was not her idea to invite Anderson.

She told French media that the invite was organised through the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, with which Anderson – who is in fact a long-time animal rights campaigner – had previously worked with in the fight against the aforementioned practise of clubbing baby seals.

Other MPs’ reactions ranged from cautiously bemused to downright scathing; one Socialist MP by the name of Jean-Michel Clément went as far to tell France Bleu radio that she “represents everything I dislike including the superficial. She does not honour to the institution I am privileged to have a seat in.”

The foie gras producers’ organisation Cifog were also withering in their response. “We are astonished that an elected member of the Republic should pull such a publicity stunt by choosing an American actress from the 1980s to condemn the production of one of the jewels of French gastronomy and culture,” they said in a statement, while a spokeswoman for the organisation, Marie-Pierre Pe, had a good old whinge.

“We understand that some people don’t want to eat foie gras,” she said, “but they should not keep foie gras lovers from eating it.”

The award for the most vile response however goes to the Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Traditions movement, who said that Abeille “preferred turkeys stuffed with silicon [i.e. PAMELA ANDERSON] to good geese stuffed with maize from (the regions) Landes and Perigord.”

Abeille condemned the slur as “particularly shocking, sexist, chauvinist, misogynistic comments”.


Pamela Anderson Declares Open Season On Foie Gras, Pushes France For Ban

Although subjecting animals to gavage is illegal in plenty of countries, including Australia, the U.K., India, Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Scandinavia, Italy, Poland and more, the product of this treatment – foie gras – is not, and France produces 75% of the world’s supply, amounting to nearly 20,000 tonnes of it per year.

And while it is still legal to produce in many parts of Europe, the European Union ruled in 2011 that birds cannot be kept in individual cages, giving farms till the end of last year to comply.

Read Pamela’s full speech to Parliament here.

Source: The Guardian / The Irish Times.

Photo: Mike Windle / Getty.