Edinburgh Michelin-starred Number One joins The Witchery in ditching foie gras

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Four of the Capital’s best known restaurants have committed to drop foie gras from their menus as animal cruelty concerns have been raised by international animal advocacy campaigners.

Michelin-starred restaurant Number One at The Balmoral on Princes Street, The Witchery by the Castle, The Tower, and Prestonfield House confirmed that foie gras – a food product made from the fattened liver of duck and geese – will be removed from their menus.

James Thomson proprietor of The Witchery, The Tower and five star luxury hotel Prestonfield House.

James Thomson proprietor of The Witchery, The Tower and five star luxury hotel Prestonfield House.

The traditionally French cuisine, known as a luxury product, is made by force-feeding corn to ducks and geese via a feeding tube – a process known as gavage.
The birds are force-fed twice or three times a day before being slaughtered.

Following a recent expose of conditions on a foie gras farm, animal advocay organisation Open Cages confirmed that the four restaurants will no longer serve the product.

Open Cages CEO Connor Jackson comments: “We are thrilled to see Scottish companies parting with this disgraceful industry, and hope more restaurateurs take such stands against animal cruelty.

“By allowing the sale of foie gras on our shores we are putting money in the pockets of this industry.
“Whilst imported foie gras remains on the menu these poor animals’ cries will haunt us for years to come.”

According to Open Cages the conditions documented in the expose include birds being thrown violently from the truck into cages, metal feeding pipes lubricated with engine oil being shoved down the bird’s throats to pump them full of food, and injured and dead birds being left to suffer or rot in piles.

Open Cages said the force-feeding is standard practice on most foie gras farms to fatten the animals’ livers “so they swell to ten times their normal size and become diseased.

“They are then slaughtered and their ‘fatty liver’ sold as foie gras. The largest Ukrainian poultry producer MHP claims to have sold 50,000 tonnes of foie gras in 2018.”

Deputy manager at The Balmoral Emma Lonie confirmed that recently appointed head chef Mark Donald was replacing the ‘Cured Foie Gras, Kiwi, Summer Truffle’ starter with a new seasonal dish.

And James Thomson, experienced city restaurateur and proprietor of The Witchery, The Tower and five star luxury hotel Prestonfield will also remove the product from all the menus.

Open Cages is urging Michael Gove and the UK Government to ban the sale of foie gras, post Brexit, as well as calling on eateries to remove the product from their menu.