Page last updated at 21:19 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Foie gras protesters go topless

Peta campaigners
Peta wants Selfridges to stop selling traditional foie gras

Five topless animal rights campaigners protested outside Selfridges in London urging it to stop selling foie gras.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said ducks and geese were force-fed for the pate, branding the process "naked cruelty".

The four women and a man stood outside the flagship store in Oxford Street holding heart-shaped banners reading "Have a heart - drop foie gras".

Selfridges said all its stores offered a "welfare-friendly" alternative.

The activists were outside the West End store for about an hour on Thursday.

Peta supporters are quite willing to go 'starkers' to expose the naked cruelty
Robbie LeBlanc, Peta

Peta urged Selfridges to follow other British shops and grocery chains such as Waitrose, House of Fraser and Sainsbury's which have stopped selling foie gras.

Peta's Europe director Robbie LeBlanc said: "Peta supporters are quite willing to go 'starkers' to expose the naked cruelty behind this 'torture in a tin'.

"Valentine's Day is the perfect time for Selfridges to show geese a little love by ending foie gras sales."

The campaign group said force-feeding makes the birds' livers become diseased, resulting in them expanding to up to 10 times their normal size.

'Genuine choice'

Most animals are not able to move, fall sick and some bleed to death when the feeding pipe punctures their throat, Peta said.

The group said its polls showed nearly two-thirds of British people want foie gras sales banned.

A spokeswoman for Selfridges said only a drop in sales would persuade it to reconsider its stance.

"We sell both the traditional foie gras product which is being protested about and a welfare-friendly version which we have developed ourselves," she said.

"If customers continue to buy any product then we will continue to have it there for them."

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