Meg Mathews convinces Belsize Park restaurant owner to banish foie gras ‘cruelty’ from menu

Meg Matthews outside XO in Belsize Lane

Meg Matthews outside XO in Belsize Lane - Credit: Archant

A restaurant owner in Belsize Park has banished foie gras from his menu after he was left “horrified” by a graphic photo shown to him by celebrity campaigner Meg Mathews, exposing how the delicacy is made.

Will Ricker, owner of pan-asian XO in Belsize Lane, was said to be shocked after seeing the image of a duck used in the production of foie gras being force-fed with a metal pipe.

The restaurateur, who owns several other high-end eateries across London, was quick to remove the controversial food from his menu.

The about-turn came just one day before TV-chef Gordon Ramsay stopped purchases from a French firm supplying foie gras to his own restaurants after a national newspaper ran an exposé on the “torture” and “diabolical conditions” suffered by ducks.

Foie gras production, which involves ducks and geese being force-fed to grow their livers to an unnatural size, is banned in Britain but the food can still be imported.

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club, Lord’s Cricket Ground and both Houses of Parliament have all pledged not to serve or sell foie gras, and Prince Charles does not allow it on Royal menus.

Ms Mathews, who lives in nearby Primrose Hill and campaigns for the organisation People for the Ethical Protection of Animals (PETA), said: “I’m delighted to see foie gras off the menu at XO, which is one of my favourite restaurants. I hope this encourages other restaurants in the area to follow suit.

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“I want us to be like California where it is not only illegal to produce foie gras but also to buy it.”