The future of foie gras on British menus has been thrown into doubt after animal rights activists forced three restaurants to stop serving the controversial delicacy last week.
The two-Michelin-starred Midsummer House in Cambridge took foie gras off its menu after an attack by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) during which the restaurant was badly vandalised.
Chef-patron Daniel Clifford told Caterer that the attack was the culmination of threats that included anonymous letters and protestors demonstrating in front of the restaurant.
"Then a brick was thrown through one of the windows just before service and the next day the restaurant was vandalised," Clifford said. "These people are extremists and we're in a very dangerous situation that we can't win. We have to protect our staff and diners, and knowing what the ALF is capable of we had no choice but to give in and take foie gras off the menu."
Clifford added that other restaurants selling foie gras would be targeted in the future. "Police have monitored websites and there have been calls for action on other restaurants," he said. "In Cambridge most restaurants have removed foie gras from their menus after the attack on us."
Matthew Mooney, owner of Cheshire restaurants Belle Epoque and the Duke of Portland, said police advised him to remove foie gras to avoid being attacked.
"We've had three visits from the police urging us to either stop selling foie gras or install CCTV on our premises," he said.
"This is just hysterical reaction on the part of the activists and there's no informed debate taking place. What's next? Veal? Lamb? Will we all have to be vegans soon? We need someone like Jamie Oliver tackling the foie gras issue and campaigning on TV to create awareness and rational discussion to avoid foie gras having to be taken off menus across the UK."
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By Kerstin Kühn
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