International Outcry

The Council of Europe has issued regulations (for ducks and geese) that ban force-feeding in all countries where it is not already practiced, and require research 'on alternative methods which do not include gavage (i.e. force-feeding)' for countries where the practice still exists. The European directive even requires that "No animal shall be provided with food or liquid in a manner  (...) which may cause unnecessary suffering or injury", although that is not yet enforced in these countries. A scientific report for a European Community committee condemns the practice of force feeding.
The full text of the Council of Europe directive can be found here.

Fifteen nations have either outlawed force feeding specifically or found it to be illegal under already existing anti-cruelty laws, and only a few countries still produce foie gras.

The following countries have enacted explicit bans against force-feeding:

Austria
Czech Republic (1992)
Denmark (1991)
Finland (1996)
Germany (1993)
Italy (2004)
Luxembourg (1965)
Norway (1974)
Poland (1999)

The laws of the following countries have been interpreted to ban force-feeding of animals for foie gras production:

Holland
Israel
South Africa
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom

List of countries with explicit bans on force feeding:

AUSTRIA:

Six of Austria's nine provinces have specific legislation stating "the force feeding of animals is forbidden unless it is necessary for health reasons."

CZECH REPUBLIC:

From 19. May 1993 No. 162 Coll. Of laws and 27. September 1994 No. 193 Coll. of laws, on the Protection of animals against cruelty The Czech National Assembly passed the following bill: Animals, like humans, are living creatures and therefore can feel various degrees of pain and suffering and hence they deserve attention, care and protection by man. § Section 4 The cruelty to an animal is:
P) to force feed animals, particularly poultry in intensive farming,

DENMARK:

Danish Act on the Protection of Animals 1991
Part 1, Section 5
"animals shall not be forcibly fed unless this is required to treat the animal for disease."

FINLAND:

Act on the Protection of Animals
Issued in Helsinki April 4, 1996.
In Accordance with the decision of Parliament the following is enacted:
Chapter 2, Article 11
Forced feeding of animals
Animals may not be fed by force for fattening purposes or to increase their production.

GERMANY:

Animal Welfare Act, 1993
Section II: Animal Husbandry
Article 3
It shall be prohibited:
9. to force-feed an animal save for essential health reasons;

ITALY:

Legislative Decree 26 March 2001, n. 146
"Accomplishment of the executive one 98/58/CE relevant to the protection of the animals"
published in the official Gazette n. 95 of 24 April 2001

Art. 2. Obligations of owners or caretakers of animals
1. The proprietor or the keeper that is the holder has to:
a) adopt measures adapted to guarantee the well-being of the actual animals and do not provoke pain, suffering or useless injuries;
b) rear and to take care of the different animals from fish, reptiles and amphibians, in enclosures that conform to their dispositions.

Cited expected from Article 2, subsection 1, letter b):
Mutilations and other practices
19. As of January 1 2004 the use of force-feeding for ducks and geese and the plucking of live birds is forbidden.

In explaining this decree, Italian lawmakers wrote:

Force Feeding of Ducks and Geese
Article 2, paragraph 1, letter b), and point 19 of the last part of the Annex.
As of 1 January 2004, the mistreatment of these types of birds, most locked in cages, without freedom of movement, that in the last 20-25 days of the fattening cycle are forced to ingest a one half-kilo ration of maize (the equivalent of 20 kilos of pasta per day for an adult weighing 80 kilograms…) from three to eight times per day through a metallic tube that is pushed down the throat. This torture, which makes preferred use of the Tolouse and Emdem species, hastens the onset of the disease called hepatic steatosis that makes the liver enlarge disproportionately, up to ten times its normal size. This provision does not prohibit the production of foie gras nor its import (Almost all of Italy's consumption comes, in descending order, from Hungary, Israel, Germany, France, USA and Belgium; a total of 138,000 kilos in 1999, ISTAT data), but only the barbaric system described above, condemned by the Veterinary Science Committee of the European Union (report entitled "Welfare Aspects of the Production of Foie Gras in Ducks and Geese) adopted on 6 December 1998.

LUXEMBOURG:

Chapter VIII : Unlawful Practices
Article 20. It's forbidden:
6-To force-feed (medicine) to an animal or to feed it food unless its health requires such measure
7-to knowingly provide food to an animal which obviously causes it considerable pain or harm, or to give it substances intended to stimulate its physical capacities for sporting tournaments.

NORWAY:

Animal Welfare Act 1974
CHAPTER 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS.
Section 8 Certain ways in which it is forbidden to treat animals.
It is forbidden:
4. To force-feed animals.

POLAND:

Animal Protection Act of 1997 (effective 1999)
Chapter 3 - Farm Animals
Article 12.7
It is forbidden to fatten geese and ducks for the purposes of the fatty degeneration of their livers.

List of Countries with Implict bans on force-feeding:

NETHERLANDS/ HOLLAND:

Animal Health and Welfare act 1992
Item 36.1: "Animals shall not be caused suffering or injury without reasonable purpose nor shall the limits necessary to achieve that purpose be exceeded, nor shall the animals' health or welfare be damaged."
Item 37: "Any person who keeps animals shall ensure that the animal does not lack proper care."

ISRAEL:

Israel court decision to ban force-feeding (PDF)

SOUTH AFRICA:

South Africa's sole producer of foie gras had been in business for ten years when the SPCA confiscated the ducks in 1998 and filed cruelty charges against him, prompting him to flee the country. The SPCA noted that " Ducks in the final stage of production clearly showed signs of distress. As a result of their enlarged livers pressing on their heart and lungs they had difficulty breathing and walking."

Foie Gras- 5/7/98
Producers: Nikki Berryman & Grant Nelson

Foie gras has been called the food of kings and pharaohs. With premium prices paid for this culinary delicacy it is, without doubt, the food of the wealthy. Foie gras literally means "fat liver" and is produced by force-feeding geese or ducks until their livers are up to 10 times their normal size.

A metal tube is pushed down the bird's throat and maize forced into their crops several times a day. In a heated SPCA raid on a farm near Brits, Carte Blanche exposed the cruelty involved in foie gras farming. Ducks in the final stage of production clearly showed signs of distress. As a result of their enlarged livers pressing on their heart and lungs they had difficulty breathing and walking. Equipment was seized and ducks from various stages in the process were confiscated.

These birds had to be put down and autopsies conducted in order to prove abuse. On the strength of this evidence a case was brought against the farmer who, shortly afterwards, abandoned his farm and fled the country. A warrant was issued for his arrest. This insert was instrumental in effectively shutting down the only known producer of foie gras in South Africa, who had been in operation for ten years.

The programme not only revealed the inhumane process of foie gras production, but also sent a clear message that this method of intensive farming will not be tolerated in South Africa. Armed with footage from the insert, SPCA subsequently managed to dissuade the Botswana Development Corporation from allowing a Polish company to establish a large-scale foie gras farm in Botswana.

SWITZERLAND:

Animal Protection Act of 1981

According, the Swiss government has deemed force feeding to be inconsistent with its animal protection law. The Annual report of the federal Counsel on the activities of Switzerland to the Counsel of Europe in 1999 of January 12, 2000 states:

3.5 Protection of the animals [...] The Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes (ETS 87) adopted, in June, restricting recommendations for the States regarding raising animals for their fur as well as regarding raising domestic ducks, muscovy ducks and domestic geese. During the vote of the last three recommendations, Switzerland abstained and justified its position in details, stating that the fattening of poultry is contrary to the protection of animals. [...]

SWEDEN:

"The Animal Welfare Law"

UNITED KINGDOM:

2000 No. 1870
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000
Made 18th July 2000
Coming into force 14th August 2000
Feed, water and other substances
22. Animals shall be fed a wholesome diet which is appropriate to their age and species and which is fed to them in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health, to satisfy their nutritional needs and to promote a positive state of well-being.
23. No animals shall be provided with food or liquid in a manner, nor shall such food or liquid contain any substance, which may cause them unnecessary suffering or injury.

Therefore, different British lawmakers have stated:
1. Hon Nicholas Soames, MP:
"The Government are nevertheless concerned at the animal welfare aspects of pa te de foie gras production involving force feeding. They have made it clear they would seek legislation to ban this practice if there was a prospect of it developing in the United Kingdom."

"Pa te de foie gras is not produced in the United Kingdom and there are therefore no specific controls on production methods. Were anyone to propose starting foie gras production, the Government would wish to introduce welfare rules to ensure that force feeding was not permitted."

2. Elliot Morley Esq, MP:
"We are opposed to the force feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras--a practice which is not followed in the United Kingdom."