House of Lords
House of Lords

Members of the House of Lords have been urged to stop eating expensive foie gras at restaurants in the Houses of Parliament on animal rights grounds.

Each peer receives a £300-a-day allowance from the taxpayer, and many choose to spend the money on dining in a selection of expensive restaurants inside the Palace of Westminster, where foie gras is often on the menu.

Now Conservative MP Mark Pritchard has called on representatives from the Lords to curb their appetite for the luxury French food.

To make foie gras, or "fat liver", geese are force-fed grain via a tube in order to inflate their liver to up to 10 times its normal size.

Pritchard said: "Foie gas is produced in a very cruel way and it's bad for the welfare of geese. This should have no place in a modern parliament." 

Foie gras is banned from dining rooms in the House of Commons and its production is prohibited in Britain and a host of European countries because of the methods used by farmers.

Prince Charles refuses to have the dish at any royal table, and it is not available at any major UK supermarket chain.

Foie Gras
Foie gras

Pritchard was joined in his call for a foie gras ban by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

A spokesman for the group told IBTimes UK: "British institutions such as the House of Lords cannot in any way justify serving a dish that is illegal to produce in the UK. Foie gras is made by pumping huge amounts of grain into geese through metal pipes, which are rammed down their throats several times a day.

"Veterinarians and avian experts concur that foie gras cannot be produced humanely. The House of Lords is bringing in a French product in order to circumvent British law.

"To be relevant in the 21st century and to fall in line with British public opinion - two thirds of whom support a ban on the sale of foie gras - the House of Lords must immediately stop serving this vile product and show that the 'second chamber' puts the welfare of animals first."

Any decision to strike foie gras from the menu would have to be taken by the House of Lords' refreshment department, and a spokesperson said moves have already been made to ban the dish.

"There are plans to take the dish off the menu," he said.