Animal rights activists have targeted top restaurants across the Midlands as part of a campaign to get foie gras off the menu.
At least five restaurants across the region have received letters from campaigners urging them to reconsider serving the 'posh pate', which is produced by force-feeding geese and ducks. Most of the chefs serving the dish said yesterday that they would continue to offer what their customers wanted.
However, one told how he removed foie gras from the menu and would "hesitate" to bring it back because of concerns over "animal welfare". The scale of the campaign against restaurants can be revealed after it emerged yesterday that police had been called in to advise Birmingham's Brasserie Blanc after it received letters and emails from activists.
The restaurant's owner, Raymond Blanc, said that he took a decision "not to yield" to the campaign as there was no scientific evidence to suggest that animals were in pain during the production of foie gras.
Russell Sterry, chef and owner of Worcester's Quay Restaurant and Cafe, said he would not reinstate the dish to his menu after it was removed in the New Year because of concerns over animal welfare.
Animal rights campaigners recently protested outside his restaurant and the Glasshouse Brasserie, which is also in Worcester, because they served foie gras. Mr Sterry said he also received letters from animal rights groups – although his decision to drop foie gras was not taken because of pressure from their campaign.
He said: "The letters said things like 'You should think carefully about what you are serving because it is not humane'.
"It is not a popular dish, whether for ethical reasons or otherwise, I don't know. It is not on the menu at the moment and whether it returns remains to be seen. I would hesitate to put it back on because of the animal welfare issue.
"It has nothing to do with whether people decide to stand outside of my restaurant."
Luke Tipping, head chef at the Edgbaston-based Michelin-starred Simpsons restaurant, serves a banana foie gras as one of his signatory dishes.
He said the restaurant received letters from animal rights campaigners last year, but defended its decision to continue serving the dish.
"It is a very popular dish here," he said.
Pascal Cuny, the Maitre'd at Jessica's, Birmingham's only other Michelin-stared restaurant, said: "We do serve foie gras, and when we first opened we had some mail regarding this."
Foie gras is the swollen liver of a goose or duck that has been force-fed fatty grain. Overeating and lack of exercise creates livers of up to 3lb.
Animal rights campaigners argue that force-feeding is cruel, and claim the resulting swollen livers make it difficult for the birds to walk and breathe.
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