Heston Blumenthal, the celebrity chef, has dropped his supplier of foie gras after an undercover video showed ducks in horrific conditions.
The video, which was obtained by the Mirror newspaper, showed ducks with throats injured by over-feeding, covered in vomit and with injured feet.
The owner of the farm, Maison Mitteault, said he would be “very angry” if the “shocking” images showed his birds, but he added he was “not sure” if this was the case.
However, Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck, in Bray, Berkshire, said it had decided to sever their link with the farm.
“The video does not in any way represent the farm or the standards of farming that were shown to our chefs on their extensive visit to Maison Mitteault,” a spokesman said.
“On our visit to Maison Mitteault, we were shown a well-run family duck farm which did not need or use preventative vaccines or medicines, instead they analyse the soil and feed etc offering a more healthy environment for the ducks.
“The farm mill their own feed comprising different ratios of corn, soya bean, red field bean plus minerals such as calcium and all ingredients originate 20km from the farm. The ducks were all free range, only coming inside to feed in individual pens. The birds we saw were healthy and strong and showed no sign of distress.”
The spokesman said they had decided to “immediately ceased to use Maison Mitteault” after noting what “seems to be a change in practice”.
Farm owner Louis-Marie Mitteault agreed the video showed “shocking images”.
“If they were taken on my farm, and I am not sure they are, then I would be very angry. We take animal welfare very seriously here,” he told the Mirror.
“For 25 years we have looked after our animals … I would like you to visit us and see the high standards we have. We are very open. There are groups looking to destroy foie gras production – especially at this time of year.”
The production of foie gras, which involves force feeding, is banned in the UK.
Justin Kerswell, of animal charity Viva!, said: “These images of foie gras production are horrendous and some of the worst we have ever seen.
“Ducks caged, scared and clearly in distress; birds too exhausted to move. There are no ifs and buts – this is torture.”Reuse content