An animal welfare group is calling on Peking duck consumers to reconsider the next time they tuck into the iconic Chinese delicacy.
Animal Liberation launched a campaign targeting lovers of the BBQ duck dish by showing photos of sickly, malnourished ducks at NSW factory farms.
The campaign aims to highlight the lack of industry regulation and attention given to millions of ducks that suffer from water deprivation and cramped factory conditions.
“They’ve been bred to grow really heavy, really quickly,” Emma Hurst, Animal Liberation Campaign Manager, told SBS.
“Because they’ve got naturally weak leg and thigh joints so they’re built for a life on water, they’re not built to spend six to seven weeks standing permanently on land.”
Factory farmed ducks are often packed into closed sheds with about one square metre of floor space for up to five adult ducks or 50 ducklings. The groups said these birds have no access to water or the outdoors.
As part of the campaign, Animal Liberation placed graphic ads inside buses travelling along Sydney鈥檚 George Street and Chinatown, on signboards, and inside the popular Chinese Sydney Weekly magazine.
Has this campaign changed your mind about eating duck? Tweet @sbsnews or comment below.
Did you know in Australia ducks are farmed without any surface water? #ducks #pekingduck #animalrights #animalcruelty pic.twitter深圳桑拿网会所,/Ms1IvrZqvt
鈥?Animal LiberationNSW (@AnimalLibNSW) November 2, 2014
Ms Hurst said the Chinese community was targeted because they accounted for 80 per cent of duck consumption in NSW.
“We believe that most of those people are completely unaware of the way ducks are raised,” she told SBS.
SBS spoke with John Houston, chief executive of Pepe’s Ducks in Windsor, one of Australia’s largest duck producers and supplier to Woolworths. He dismissed Animal Liberation’s claims, saying every duck producer was audited and licensed by the NSW Food Authority.
In a statement, the New South Wales Food Authority said it was not concerned about the way ducks are farmed in NSW, telling SBS: “Food safety systems and controls are regularly monitored during audits and inspections.”
But some restaurateurs in Sydney鈥檚 Chinatown felt that the campaign unfairly targeted the Chinese community and could have an impact on business.
Valentine Yee from Emporer’s Garden Restaurant in Chinatown told SBS: “It has a detrimental effect on our business because it’s actually one of our main dishes we sell are roast ducks which also we supply to our restaurants.”