When blackmail and bullying are on the menu - so is foie gras vow defiant restaurant chiefs

Calver Bridge restaurant
Calver Bridge restaurant

The owners of a Calver Bridge restaurant which serves foie gras have confirmed they will not be removing the controversial dish from its menu.

David and Samantha McHattie say they and their customers have been subjected to a Facebook bullying campaign since animal rights activists learned that the Bridge Inn was serving foie gras.

Responding to threats of a protest outside the restaurant - which opened in July last year - and 175 bad reviews left on their Facebook page, the couple said they would remove the dish from their menu in exchange for apologies from a number of protestors who had allegedly made bullying comments on Facebook.

The restaurateurs also offered to visit the farm where their foie gras is produced to see the process first-hand and report back on their findings but now felt unable to leave the restaurant and travel abroad while the situation was ongoing.

David McHattie told the Mercury: “We stand firmly against bullying and blackmail. It’s our freedom of choice to offer what we choose and what our customers choose to eat.

“We offered to take it off the menu if they apologised. They have refused and that’s fine - but if they wanted to look after the geese they could have just apologised.”

David said activists had been targeting Facebook users who had defended the restaurant with an online bullying campaign.

He added: “This is not about animal cruelty and activism.

“It’s about internet trolling.”

Foie gras, which means fatty liver is product produced from the livers of force-fed ducks or geese and used to produce foodstuffs such as pâté .

Foie gras is not produced in the UK, and would be illegal to produce under animal welfare laws due to the welfare problems associated with producing it.

The main producers of foie gras are France, Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain and Belgium.

During force-feeding a pipe is inserted into the bird’s mouth and down its throat.

A large quantity of food is then delivered down the pipe for 45 to 60 seconds using a motorised or hand-operated auger, or for two-three seconds using an automatic pump.

The birds are usually force-fed two or three times each day.