A licence to kill millions of geese at a massive foie gras factory farm in China has been withdrawn after a campaign backed by James Bond actor Roger Moore, it has been claimed.
British company Creek Projects Investments Ltd was to have funded the £10 million project to build one of the world's biggest facilities producing the liver pate, made by force-feeding ducks and geese.
Animal welfare campaigners said they had received confirmation from China that the construction will not now go ahead. The decision is said to have been taken after months of appeals and petitions in the UK and China.
In April, Creek Projects posted a note on its website saying the foie gras operation had been suspended as a result of "concerns from the public". The company's directors called for a review "to include input from animal welfare and environmental experts to address any issues which may or may not exist".
A spokesperson for Humane Society International (HSI), one of the animal welfare charities involved, said the project was "definitely not going ahead".
The facility in China's Jiangxi Province would have slaughtered eight million ducks and two million geese a year to produce 1,000 tonnes of foie gras. Making the delicacy typically involves force-feeding birds by placing a tube down their throats and pumping large amounts of food directly into their stomachs. This causes the liver to become enlarged by up to 10 times its normal size.
Foie gras force-feeding is outlawed in the UK, but the product is still available from fine food specialists and in restaurants.
The campaign against the factory farm was backed by HSI, Compassion in World Farming, and the RSPCA among others. It received strong celebrity support from Sir Roger, who called on the Chinese authorities to halt all foie gras production.
The actor said in a petition letter: "Foie gras is sold as a luxury product but there is nothing luxurious about animal cruelty. Force-feeding geese massive quantities of food by ramming a metal tube down their throat until their livers become obese, is quite rightly banned in Britain. So I am utterly appalled that a British company would fund this cruelty in China. I urge the Chinese authorities to show compassion and kindness by shutting down foie gras production in China altogether. In a modern society, there is no place for this extreme animal cruelty."
HSI said its representatives in China had learned that the Creek Projects facility had been abandoned. Confirmation came in a radio broadcast on China's Central People's Broadcasting Station, quoting a local government official.