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Protest planned over foie gras on pub's Valentine's menu

Animal rights activists will hold a protest outside an award-winning village pub in a bid to get foie gras taken off its menu.

Gastro-pub The Ruddington Arms, in Wilford Road, Ruddington, is advertising a ballotine of foie gras as part of its Valentine’s Day fare.

Around 20 campaigners are expected at the peaceful protest, organised by the Nottingham Animal Rights group, from 7pm on Tuesday.

The production of foie gras – the liver of a duck or goose – involves the controversial force-feeding of birds with more food than they would voluntarily eat.

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A spokesman for the group said so far the pub – which is advertising it’s four-course Valentine’s meal with glass of Prosecco at £38.50 – had ignored members’ concerns.

He added: “It’s quite a controversial subject; vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike – anybody with a solid bit of compassion does understand why. It’s cruel.

“We have asked where they source it from. Their home webpage says quite proudly they get products locally. But it’s illegal to get it in the UK. If they are getting it locally, it’s illegal. If they are sourcing it from outside, it’s most likely from France and by French law, if it’s foie gras the bird has to be force-fed.”

The spokesman insisted that Nottingham Animal Rights is a “peaceful, educational group”. “We are there to change opinions and get it removed from the menu,” he added.

The spokesman said members of the public contact the group to make it aware of eateries serving foie gras, adding: “It’s up to us whether or not we act.”

A protest in 2014 led to foie gras being taken off the menu at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse

A Facebook page promoting the protest says: “The Ruddington Arms will be selling foie gras on their Valentine’s Special Menu. They know the cruelty involved and simply do not seem to care.

“What better way to say I love you then eating the fatty diseased liver of a bird that was force-fed corn with a feeding tube to the point that their stomachs burst!!!

“Foie gras is illegal to produce in this country because it has been classed as extreme and unnecessary cruelty, but sadly it is not illegal to trade to this country and sell.”

Jackie Fitzmaurice, of Olney, Buckinghamshire, became aware of the Facebook page and said she supported the Nottinghamshire campaigners.

Jackie, who describes herself as a “vegan animal lover” said: “If they are advertising their product as locally sourced, where can the get the foie gras? It’s cruel. It’s a hideous, horrible practice and totally unnecessary.

“If anyone wants to celebrate Valentine’s Day by eating stuff that’s been so sadistically produced then good luck to them, but I hope they have a bad time.”

Read more: Do you ‘love’ your better half enough to buy them this £7 Poundland Valentine’s meal deal?

Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sent anti-foie gras flyers and badges to the campaigners.

Elisa Allen, director of PETA UK, said there was “nothing romantic” about foie gras and encouraged consumers to “turn up their noses at this vile product”, which could lead to restaurateurs and retailers to dropping this “torture in a tin” from their offerings.

In 2014, Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse, in Upper Parliament Street, took foie gras off the menu following a protest.

A spokesman for The Ruddington Arms, which won a Famous for Food accolade in the Star Pub Awards 2016, confirmed he was aware of the planned protest and that foie gras was still on the menu, but would not comment further.

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