IN response to your letter from Richard Mellen (Foie gras is beautiful, Paul, The Press, August 8).

Whenever I think of York, I think of one of its finest sons, Labour councillor Paul Blanchard, even though I have always been a Tory.

If we are to eat animals, then there must be a duty of care towards them, unlike the Belgians whose practices are about as sadistic and nasty as it gets.

They give geese a life of torture and pain, and force-feed them to bursting point.

As for Richard Mellen, if he doesn't understand or relate to the concept of good stewardship towards animals, the callous brute should not be allowed near them.

Julian Morley, Dulwich Wood Park, London.

  • IN response to Richard Mellen's letter "Foie gras is beautiful, Paul" (The Press, August 8) I would like to point out that it doesn't matter why retailers have stopped selling foie gras.

The fact remains that it is unethical, as evidenced by the ban on the production of foie gras in the UK.

Perhaps more people are aware of how foie gras is produced and don't want to perpetuate the trade, and that's why sales have fallen.

The only reason it hasn't been banned from sale is that it would contravene the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) enforced by the World Trade Organisation, which stipulates that free trade must take precedence over other legitimate areas of public policy, such as animal protection.

What has the world come to when we can't even ban what we want to in our own country?

I urge everyone to write to their local MPs and the Agriculture Minister Ben Bradshaw to motivate the government to challenge these WTO terms.

Nicola Gothard, Sovereign Close, Didcot, Oxon.

  • I HAVE seen what men do to ducks to extend their livers into a food for us.

Its appalling. Force-fed daily in a cage so small they can never move until they are so sick with liver disease.

Then it is served on our plates as a delicacy.

A Merchant.

Aintree Road, Bolton.

  • I WAS totally disgusted to read the letter from Richard Mellen describing foie gras, surely one of the cruellest concoctions sold on a delicatessen counter, as a "beautiful food".

Would he like to have someone put a funnel down his throat, and pump in a mixture to cause his liver to swell to many times its normal size, so that apart from the pain experienced by the unfortunate goose, the poor creature can hardly move until condemned to a horrible death?

It is people like him that have given meat-eaters a bad name, and cause so much overreaction by animal rights campaigners.

I am not surprised that he numbers veal, venison and baby octopus amongst the delicacies that tickle his palate - all of which cause pain and suffering to helpless creatures.

He describes himself as a retailer. I wish I knew where his shop was, in order to ensure I never entered its doors.

I have no problem in rearing and killing animals for meat.

It is the way they are allowed to live out their lives and the humane way in which they are slaughtered that concern me and, luckily, more and more people to whom animal suffering does matter. No, Mr Mellen, foie gras is not beautiful, it is barbaric.

Heather Causnett, Escrick Park Gardens, Escrick, York.