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Michelin restaurant drops foie gras after protest vandalism

A Michelin-starred restaurant has been forced to remove foie gras from its menu following violent protests by animal rights activists.

Midsummer House in Cambridge took the delicacy off the menu this week after protesters vandalised its premises. The restaurant remained closed on Monday while repair work took place.

The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed responsibility for the attack, which included gluing the restaurant’s door locks, damaging windows with glass-etching fluid and spraypainting slogans such as ‘Stop Selling Foie Gras’ on the walls.

Foie gras is made from goose or duck livers massively expanded by force-feeding. Production methods are decried by animal rights groups.

‘We hope this is the only action needed to persuade the restaurant to stop selling foie gras. It’s a simple thing to do. If not, the direct action will continue,’ the ALF said in a note emailed to local paper Cambridge News.

Decanter contributing editor Fiona Beckett, who writes about visiting a small foie gras producer in the May issue of Decanter, is unambiguous about the cruelty of the process:

‘Is it right to fatten a creature to the extent that it can’t walk for the sake of a luxury product we don’t really need? Foie gras lover though I have been, I can no longer accept that it is and after my visit, quite contrary to my expectations, I’ve decided I won’t eat it any more.’

It is not the first time protesters have forced their will on businesses. Department store group House of Frasier last year banned foie gras sales in all of its stores following protests led Advocates for Animals.

Other groups are also on the case. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) last year said that nearly two-thirds of UK consumers polled want the food banned.

In the US, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has legislated to phase out Californian production by 2012, and politicians in Chicago followed suit in 2006 by banning the controversial delicacy in all other city’s restaurants.

Written by Jo Iivonen

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