Calver pub slams online foie gras 'mob attacks'

  • Published
Foie gras
Image caption,
The production of foie gras is illegal in the UK, although it remains a legal ingredient

Owners of a pub have attacked activists who they claim were behind online "mob attacks" and abusive phone calls over their decision to sell foie gras.

David and Samantha McHattie, who run The Bridge Inn in Derbyshire, said they have been "bombarded" with "fake reviews and hateful messages".

They said they will continue to serve the dish, produced from livers of ducks or geese which are often force-fed.

About 40 protesters gathered outside the Calver pub on Easter Sunday.

They said they have also been targeted online.

Image caption,
Dozens of protesters gathered outside The Bridge Inn on Easter Sunday

The McHatties said they were forced to remove their Facebook page after it was filled with hundreds of negative reviews from users who, they claim, had never visited the pub.

"No-one ever tried to speak to us privately," Mrs McHattie said. "This has been hundreds of fake, one-star reviews within days.

"Mob attacks online have a devastating effect and it's not acceptable."

Mr McHattie added: "Do I like my team taking phone calls of people being abusive? Do I like them threatening members of our community and abusing them? No, I don't.

"It's perfectly legal, and if it wasn't legal, we wouldn't touch it."

Image caption,
Samantha and David McHattie said they were forced to remove their Facebook page after it was filled with negative reviews

What is foie gras?

  • Foie gras is a delicate luxury pate, mainly enjoyed in France
  • While foie gras can be produced by natural feeding, in France it must be made by a process known as gavage in which ducks and geese are force-fed corn through a tube
  • The force feeding occurs for about two weeks after the animals reach maturity
  • The practice is banned in some countries
  • Foie gras production is illegal in the UK, but is still a legal ingredient

Protest organiser Corinne Longman claimed animal rights activists have been threatened online from people in the restaurant trade.

"Foie gras is classed by governing bodies and the RSPCA as cruel and unnecessary and just for a delicacy, that's not good enough," she said.

"It isn't just the individual we're targeting, it is any restaurant that sells foie gras.

"We don't blame The Bridge Inn for all the chefs that have been sending us threats of violence, just as much as I can't control any of the other activists who have decided to use the wrong kind of tactics by getting personal and abusive."