BRITAIN'S foremost animal charity has thrown its weight behind a campaign to ban the sale of foie gras.
The RSPCA is backing a campaign by York councillor Paul Blanchard to ban the sale of foie gras in the UK entirely by putting out appeals on its websites.
Vegetarian organisation Viva is also backing the bid by Coun Blanchard, and has posted similar appeals on its website.
Back in January The Press revealed Coun Blanchard has set up an online petition on the 10 Downing Street website, which has attracted 4,763 signatures to date.
Both Viva and the RSPCA are urging people to sign an online petition calling on Tony Blair to ban the sale of foie-gras in Britain.
Foie gras means fat liver, and is made from the livers of force-fed ducks or geese that have been bred to produce luxury foodstuffs such as pate de foie gras.
The Viva website, at www.viva.org.uk, states: "It's no wonder foie-gras has been dubbed torture in a tin'.
"Ducks and geese are being driven from the ponds and into intensive farms in their millions, where they are routinely abused in the name of fine dining. Every year in France, 30 million ducks are forced into cages so small they can't even stretch their wings. Trapped and helpless, a metal tube is thrust down their throats and vast quantities of food are forcibly pumped into their stomachs so that their livers swell painfully to up to 10 times their natural size.
"There is no escape and no respite."
The RSPCA said: "This supposed delicacy is growing in popularity on restaurant menus across the country. On TV, top chefs are regularly featured using foie gras in their recipes - making the product that causes many birds to suffer greatly seem acceptable.
"Foie gras is actually illegal to produce in the UK - but it's still legal to sell it and a growing number of restaurants and shops are doing so.
"The RSPCA is supporting a petition to get the sale of foie gras banned."
Coun Blanchard said: "With the RSPCA's 65,000 members, I hope the signatories will increase and therefore the Government will take notice and a ban will be forthcoming."
To find out more about foie gras and to sign the petition, go to www.banfoiegras.org.uk.