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Bardot lambasts Fortnum & Mason’s ‘imbecilic’ attitude to foie gras

Sixties screen siren Brigitte Bardot has added her voice to a chorus of calls from animal rights campaigners for Fortnum & Mason to end sales of foie gras.

Shameful abuse of birds’: Bardot

In a letter to Ewan Venters, managing director of Fortnum & Mason, a number of French animal welfare groups joined calls from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for foie gras to be taken off the shelves of the genteel London grocer.

Labelling the force-feeding of geese ‘barbaric’, groups including the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, the Society for the Protection of Animals, L214 and Rights of Animals wrote: ‘Thousands of people in France are working towards an end to the shameful practice of force-feeding birds and we respectfully urge you not to help keep this inhumane and shrinking industry alive.’

And, in a personal attack on Venters, film star-turned-animal rights campaigner Bardot said: ‘Mr Venters seems to be one of those imbeciles who, just for a fleeting moment of flavour, is willing to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence that force-feeding ducks and geese to produce grotesquely enlarged livers for foie gras is overwhelmingly cruel.

‘I hope France will end this shameful abuse of birds, which is quite rightly banned in Venters’ own country.

‘But, until then, Mr Venters should keep his hands off our geese.’

PETA said that force-feeding geese and ducks to produce foie gras was banned in the UK, and was now only legal in five European countries, including France.

A spokesperson for Fortnum & Mason highlighted the store’s reputation for supplying traditional foods, including foie gras.

She added: ‘As a retailer we are here to provide our customers with the products they ask for, including foie gras, and we respect their right to buy and enjoy the foods they like.

‘However, we uphold strict guidelines relating to the making of foie gras and work to the best of our abilities to ensure that these gold standard production requirements are upheld at all times by the suppliers we use.’

In October last year, the retailer threatened legal action over video footage released by PETA and taken at what it claimed was a supplier to Fortnum’s, the Sarlat Périgord co-operative.

Written by Richard Woodard

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