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UK restaurateurs defend their right to serve foie gras

01 May 2008 by

Restaurateurs are hitting back in the foie gras debate, refusing to bow to pressure from animal rights activists who are continuing to target them over the sale of the controversial delicacy.

A recent surge in threats and violent attacks on restaurants serving foie gras has forced a number of them to remove it from their menus altogether.

But while restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Midsummer House in Cambridge have stopped selling foie gras, other operators are now refusing to give in to threats, and have even changed their minds.

Steve Bowen, proprietor of the Waterfront restaurant in Plymouth, received an e-mail from Chris Deacon of the Plymouth Environment Centre, urging him to stop selling foie gras or face "a co-ordinated campaign" against the restaurant.

"I do recommend you take this seriously," the e-mail warned.

But Bowen insisted he would not bow to the pressure and turned the tables on Deacon, revealing that he changed his mind about taking the delicacy off the menu after being angered by the tone of the e-mail, which has been passed on to the police.

"I aim to source most of the produce I serve on my menu locally, within 30 miles of Plymouth, and since foie gras isn't a local product, I decided to take it off the menu," he said. "But I will not be intimidated or threatened. Foie gras will remain on my menu until such time as I see fit to remove it."

Another leading chef, who preferred to remain anonymous because of ongoing threats, told Caterer: "We've had activists outside the restaurant but refuse to take foie gras off the menu. If we stopped serving foie gras we would lose part of our identity."

Read more news on foie gras at www.caterersearch.com/foiegras

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By Kerstin Kühn

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