A SCOTTISH aristocrat has condemned the chief of one of London’s smartest stores for selling “un-British” foie gras.
The Dowager Duchess Kay Hamilton has sent an angry letter to fellow Scot Ewan Venters.
She tells the CEO of Fortnum & Mason that she “is deeply saddened” by his decision to support the “barbaric foie gras trade”.
Fortnum & Mason counts top celebrities and senior Royals among its clientele.
But the Duchess is on the warpath, claiming Mr Venters ignored several calls to discuss the fact they stock foie gras, a luxury French delicacy made from the fattened liver of ducks or geese.
She wrote: “I had hoped sincerely to discuss this matter with you ‘one Scot to another’ on the phone or over a cup of tea during your next visit to Edinburgh.
“Sadly more than a month has passed since my first call to your office and despite assurances from your staff that I would hear from you, I now feel compelled to write to you openly.”
She continued: “Don’t you see that by continuing to sell foie gras, Fortnum & Mason is not championing freedom of choice? No, it is simply illustrating that the store, under your leadership, is out of touch with the public’s concern for animal welfare.”
Foie gras production – during which birds are force-fed huge quantities of grain and fat through metal pipes pushed down their throats – is banned in the UK as well as in 16 other countries
Duchess Hamilton explained the suffering that ducks undergo when forced fed to fatten them up.
Ducks and Geese
“As you know, to produce foie gras, ducks and geese are forced fed several times a day. Metal pipes are forced down their throats, and huge amounts of grain are pumped into their stomachs, until their livers swell to up to 10 times their normal size.
“There is no grey area when it comes to whether or not the bids suffer during this nightmarish process – foie gras production is condemned by veterinarians and avian experts the world over.”
On a personal note, she added: “My late husband and I visited a site in the south of France where Muscovy ducks were being force fed – truly awful. Then outside, many ducks lay gasping – they seemed unable to move – I would think they were to be taken away for killing.”
In a final plea, she said: “Please stop tarnishing the reputation of what was once – and still could be – Britain’s finest department store and rid Fortnum & Mason’s shelves and menus of vile and un-British foie gras.”
A spokesman for Fortnum & Mason said: “Foie gras is sold in shops throughout the UK, and is used in many top restaurants. We do understand that it is not to some people’s taste, and we respect their right to make their feelings known.
“However, foie gras has been on sale at Fortnum’s down the centuries, and a sizeable number of our customers enjoy it. We believe they should have the freedom to choose whether to buy it or not.”
The Duchess made the appeal on behalf of the animal right’s charity People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).