ANIMAL welfare activists from around the country descended on York, as the city became the first in Britain to formally condemn foie gras.

City of York Council last night voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion describing the French delicacy as "intolerably cruel" and making various pledges to oppose it.

Before the meeting, dozens of activists gathered outside the Guildhall in St Helen's Square, where a special mock-up stunt saw model and vegetarian Adele Tyrala being force-fed' through a pipe to demonstrate the way geese and ducks are treated in the production of foie gras.

Among the protesters was Anita Singh, special campaigns manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who said: "It is absolutely irresponsible for this country to allow this product to be imported and sold in our shops and restaurants."

Tabling the motion, Heworth councillor Paul Blanchard said York could play a part in "leading the way" to stopping the production and sale of foie gras.

The motion commits the council to write to the Government, stating its concern over foie gras and calling for a review of national policies.

It also bans the council from buying or selling foie gras. A link to Compassion in World Farming's website will also go on the council's own site, and hospitality organisations in the city will be informed of the council's stance.