‘My foie gras is ethical’, insists new celeb Primrose Hill butcher Jack O’Shea

17:00 24 July 2014

Butcher Jack O

Butcher Jack O'Shea will sell foie gras at his new shop in Primrose Hill


It’s been top of their “most wanted” list for years, but news that a butcher’s is finally opening in Primrose Hill has not gone down well with all its residents.

Butcher Jack O’Shea, who provides meat to some of the most exclusive restaurants and celebrity chefs, revealed he will be opening his “old-school style butchering shop” on the site of the old Gale Furs clothes shop in Regent’s Park Road next month.

No stranger to controversy, Mr O’Shea made headlines in 2011 for selling under-the-counter foie gras to customers in Selfridges, Oxford Street.

Foie gras is made by force-feeding geese or ducks to fatten up their livers, and his actions led him to be sacked by Selfridges and receive threats from animal rights activists.

Sticking to his guns, and branding his opponents “hypocrites”, Mr O’Shea revealed his Primrose Hill store will be selling the delicacy – and that residents can feel “guilt-free” about eating it.

He told the Ham&High: “I’m not here to fight but to educate.

“I’m here to say, ‘if you’re happy eating meat, you can eat my foie gras guilt-free’.

“The geese and ducks I use spend their entire lives living a wonderful, free-range existence.

“All my butcher shops run on the premise that you get bad fruit from a badly nurtured tree.

“When I was growing up, abattoirs were medieval. But things are different now.

“The force-feeding is pneumatic and takes only two seconds.

“If people don’t have a problem with eating meat, they shouldn’t have a problem eating my foie gras.”

While it is legal to import foie gras, production is banned in the UK and throughout much of Europe. Mr O’Shea sources his from the south of France, where it is still legal to farm.

But the claim foie gras is ethical wasn’t swallowed by everyone.

Meg Matthews, activist for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Primrose Hill resident, said: “As a butcher, Mr O’Shea has a vested interest in covering up cruelty, but there is quite simply no ‘humane’ way to produce foie gras.

“Force-feeding has been condemned by top avian experts, leading veterinarians and the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare.

“He should be wary of false advertising claims or he may find his own neck in the noose.”

Fellow animal rights campaigner and Hampstead resident Angela Humphery added her voice to calls for residents to boycott the new shop, saying: “For him to say that it takes ‘only two seconds’ to force-feed the geese is enough to make me gag!”

Mr O’Shea, who is in the middle of making a new film about the ethics of foie gras, accused campaigners of spreading falsehoods.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Squatters at West End Lane

Squatters are currently believed to have barricaded themselves into a former council building in West Hampstead after an eviction order was served.

Yesterday, 13:00
London Ambulance Service has been recommended for special measures following a CQC report

The London Ambulance Service has been placed into special measures after being slammed by a health watchdog investigation as “inadequate”.

Yesterday, 17:29
Crouch End Festival Chorus at St John's Smith Square. Photo: Emily Soppet

The Crouch End Festival Chorus is taking a deep breath and running a 12-hour sponsored singing marathon this Saturday to raise funds for a major recording project.

Yesterday, 16:48
Flowers on Parkland Walk

Police are investigating after live ammunition was discovered in Parkland Walk.

Yesterday, 11:47
Tulip Siddiq challenged the Prime Minister in the House of Commons

Mothers’ maiden names should be listed on marriage certificates alongside fathers’ names, Hampstead and Kilburn’s MP has told Parliament.

Yesterday, 09:25
Piers Corbyn, right, with the squatters in West Hampstead and Cllr Lorna Russell

Squatters who have occupied empty former council offices in West Hampstead will appear in court today.

Yesterday, 08:33
Cllr Sarah Hayward

The leader at Camden Council has warned that the Chancellor’s comprehensive spending review may leave the authority struggling to carry out essential duties and place vulnerable residents at risk.

Yesterday, 06:30
The youth attacked the women in Parliament Hill

The parents of a woman who was robbed and sexually assaulted on Hampstead Heath stormed out of a courtroom in anger after her 16-year-old attacker was jailed for just one year.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder