PARIS • Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson set feathers flying in the French Parliament on Tuesday when she turned up to support a ban on force-feeding ducks and geese to make foie gras.
Anderson, 48, was invited to Parliament by a member of the green EELV party, which wants to introduce a draft law to ban the practice.
She appealed to lawmakers to abolish force-feeding, saying "foie gras is not a healthy product and does not have a place in a civilised society. These ducks did not have a single day of happiness in their short lives".
Her appearance caused a rare commotion in the assembly as ushers had to call the police to control photographers and cameramen crowding the entrance to the small room hosting her press conference. However, to many lawmakers and foie gras producers, her presence was a political stunt that has not gone down well.
"Pamela Anderson's visit gets on my nerves and I am fed up with it," said a spokesman for the ruling Socialists Hugues Fourage, in an apparently deliberate pun. "It is political theatre."
The Hunting, Fishing, Nature And Traditions movement slammed the ecologist deputy who invited her, Ms Laurence Abeille, saying she "preferred turkeys stuffed with silicon to good geese stuffed with maize from (the regions) Landes and Perigord".
Ms Abeille hit back, saying Anderson "is strongly committed to us continuing to eat well, without inflicting harm on animals".
Ms Marie-Pierre Pe, an official with the Cifog foie gras producers association, said: "We understand that some people don't want to eat foie gras but they should not keep foie gras lovers from eating it."
Force-feeding ducks and geese to make foie gras has been banned in several countries but remains legal in France, which produces 75 per cent of global foie gras.