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Anti-foie gras campaigners drive controversial pate off Brighton and Hove menus
Anti-foie gras campaigners say they are winning their Brighton and Hove campaign - but one restaurant owner has vowed to continue selling it despite protesters gathering outside his doors.
Award-winning chef Ben McKellar said his Gingerman restaurants would not not stop stocking the duck and geese liver products despite the pleas from animal rights campaigners.
The protesters, who are targetting restaurants across the city in a bid to make Brighton and Hove a “foie gras-free city”, have claimed that some businesses have already responded to their demands.
But Mr McKellar, whose Gingerman group runs four widely-revered restaurants in and around Brighton and Hove, said the assumption that all foie gras producers engaged in cruel practices was misplaced.
He added: “They are trying to tar everyone with the same brush. We use hand reared, smaller producing farms and I don't believe there is a cruelty angle there.
“I think there is ethically sourced foie gras and they think that all foie gras is cruel.
"They shouldn't be putting pressure on a local business when we are serving something that is legal.
“If they think it's cruel they should go through the proper channels to change the law.”
Animal welfare campaigners continued their protests across Brighton this weekend with groups outside La Maison in East Street and The Gingerman in Norfolk Square.
Campaigners say that Havana Restaurant in Duke Street and Little Bay Restaurant in King's Road have already agreed to their requests to immediately remove the product from their Christmas, in house and online menus.
This weekend, La Cave a Fromage removed the products from their store in Western Road, Hove, and two sister stores in London.
Campaign organiser Yossarian Robins said: “We are doing even better than we thought we would and we've had a fantastic response from chefs and restaurant owners open to discuss the issue.
“We might not be foie gras free by the end of this year, although that would be nice, but I think we will get there soon.
“If a whole state like California can become foie gras free then surely Brighton and Hove can.
“The method is cruel whoever the supplier is, you can't call it foie gras if they haven't been force fed.”
Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas is among those who have spoken out against the foie gras.
Last year, she wrote to the Queen urging that London-based Fortnum & Mason was stripped of its royal warrant.
For more details on the campaign visit www.compassionbrightonandhove.co.uk.
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