Waitrose unveils foie gras 'without the cruelty'

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AN ALTERNATIVE to pâté foie gras, made without force feeding birds, is being launched by a UK food chain.

Waitrose has named its new goose liver and duck liver pts "faux gras" and is marketing them as a British twist on the French product, made without cruelty to the birds.

It stopped selling French foie gras six years ago because it was not happy with animal welfare standards. Its alternative is described as an indulgent pt made from free-range birds reared in Britain without force feeding, and it has the backing of the RSPCA.

The pt is made from around 50% birds' liver blended with goose or duck fat to produce a creamy texture similar to traditional foie gras. It has a darker colour and the flavour is slightly different because of the different production methods.

Waitrose buyer David Stone said: "We think this is as near to authentic foie gras as we can get without the cruelty."

RSPCA senior scientific officer Marc Cooper said 63% of people in Britain believed foie gras should be banned.

York City Council introduced a foie gras ban earlier this year because of welfare concerns.

Department store chain House of Fraser also announced it would drop the product.

Critics of the French food include former James Bond star Sir Roger Moore. He has backed a call by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for a ban on foie gras sales in the UK.

Campaigners criticise the feeding process, saying grain is forced down the birds' throats via a pipe which can injure them. The feeding makes birds' livers swell to between six and 10 times their normal size.

Pots of the goose and duck liver faux gras go on sale at Waitrose outlets from Wednesday, priced 6.99 and 4.99 respectively.