ENTERTAINMENT

Ralph Fiennes Asks Fortnum And Mason To Stop Selling Foie Gras (CORRECTED)

28/06/2013 14:40 BST | Updated 29/06/2013 15:29 BST

Ralph Fiennes has joined a host of other celebrities in asking Fortnum and Mason, the department store favoured by the Royal Family, to stop selling their foie gras, on the grounds that its production is cruel to geese.

The Oscar-nominated actor, who played the character of Voldemort in the film adaptions of the 'Harry Potter' series, is joining famous figures including Twiggy and Joanna Lumley, after being shown a video of mistreatment of geese at farms supplying the department store.

ralph fiennes

Ralph Fiennes has joined the fight against foie gras

The video, featuring undercover footage and narration by 'James Bond' actor Sir Roger Moore, shows farm workers allegedly ignoring UK and French animal welfare laws by slaughtering the geese without prior stunning- causing unnecessary distress.

In the letter to the company's managing director, Ewan Venters, Fiennes wrote the following:

"Animals and their welfare mean a lot to me and to the majority of the British public. . . . As managing director, you have the power to end the company's involvement in this cruelty. I hope you will make the only acceptable decision by following the lead of other British department stores, such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, that have already banned foie gras from their shelves and menus."

The IBTimes reports a statement made by Fortnum and Mason, stating:

"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." (Read more here)

The production of foie gras involves the forced feeding of geese using tubes inserted down the animals' throats. This causes their livers to swell well beyond normal size, and these can then be extracted after slaughter, cooked and made into a spread.

According to PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the swelling of the liver exerts pressure on the other organs in the bird's body, including the lungs, which can lead to difficulty breathing.

The organisation has been at the forefront of protests against Fortnum and Mason, acquiring tens of thousands of signatures in a plea to end the selling of foie gras.

CORRECTION: An earlier headline on this article stated that Fortnum and Mason produced Foie Gras. The department store only sells the controversial food.