YORK MP Hugh Bayley has backed a campaign to outlaw foie gras - by tabling a motion in Parliament.

The Early Day Motion (EDM) reinforces a call from York councillor Paul Blanchard to ban the sale of foie gras in the UK entirely.

Mr Bayley said: "I congratulate Paul Blanchard on launching this campaign. The production of foie gras is so cruel that it has been banned for many years and I would like shops in Britain to stop selling foie gras produced in other countries."

Coun Blanchard said: "I'm really grateful to Hugh for backing my campaign. If this thing was happening with dogs, it would be stopped immediately. It's not a delicacy - it's the product of torture.

"That's why I'm doing the petition at www.stopbirdtorture.com. After all, it's not as if I am trying to ban steak or chicken here - foie gras is simply a step too far. Creating a grossly enlarged liver for foie gras is technically a disease - vets call it hepatic steatosis.

"I'm hoping those yet to be convinced will visit the website, see the evidence, and make their own mind up. The birds feel acute, long-term pain and misery - just to make a delicacy'. The campaign is in its early stages, but I'm pleased with the progress so far."

Coun Blanchard has set up an online petition on the 10 Downing Street website, which has attracted more than 4,300 signatures. It can be signed at petitions.pm.gov.uk/banfoiegras.

The EDM itself has already been signed by seven MPs.

Libby Anderson, political director of campaign group Advocates For Animals, said: "Advocates For Animals strongly supports the Early Day Motion and asks all eligible Members of Parliament to sign it.

"We don't believe that any foodstuff manufactured through suffering deserves the name of delicacy', and we would like our MPs to send that message to the industry, to importers, to retailers and restaurateurs.

"We also urge members of the public to do their bit by signing the petition to the Prime Minister lodged by Paul Blanchard."

Gill Saunders, head of campaigns at Compassion In World Farming added: "Compassion In World Farming is delighted that Hugh Bayley MP has put down this Early Day Motion, calling on the Government to prohibit the sale of foie gras in the UK. We urge other MPs to follow his lead and sign it. Foie gras causes severe and unnecessary suffering to thousands of ducks and geese and should be taken off the British menu for good."

Early Day Motion

"That this House notes that in order to produce the food delicacy foie gras, 12 week old ducks and geese are restrained and grain is forced down the throat through a gavage pipe, a process that often results in physical injury; observes that a massive quantity of food is forced into the birds causing their livers to swell to six to ten times normal size, making movement and breathing difficult, and leading to severe liver damage, great pain, and high mortality rates; further notes that existing UK animal welfare laws prohibit such cruel farming methods; considers that a prohibition on the sale of foie gras in the UK would be compatible with the EC Treaty and the rules of the World Trade Organisation, both of which permit restrictions on grounds of public morality; applauds the efforts of the website www.banfoiegras.org.uk to educate and encourage members of the public to press for foie gras to be banned; and calls upon the Government to prohibit the sale of foie gras in the UK."