I WAS dismayed by your apparent sanctioning of the product foie gras as featured in the Andrew Pern article.

A campaign to ban foie gras in York was carried out by members of Compassion in World Farming (www.ciwf.co.uk) headed by Joanna Lumley and other celebrities. Last year Prince Charles joined the campaign and banned the product at Highgrove and other royal palaces followed suit.

There is now an alternative known as "faux gras" which, I'm told, is very pleasant and doesn't involve the unspeakable cruelty and suffering inflicted on ducks and geese in the making of this luxury item.

Just as it is now uncool and unacceptable to wear the furs of endangered animals, it is also the same with foie gras and I'm surprised at someone as professional and switched on as Mr Pern (who advocates organic produce, home reared meat etc) bringing the product into his restaurant and into the limelight.

He could set a trend that others may follow by not using this product. I'm sure he'll upset more customers than he will entice! People are beginning to realise what foie gras is, and showing their disgust and disapproval by avoiding it.

Even the French themselves are thinking twice, in some quarters, about producing it.

For the unininitiated, the product is made by restricting the bird of all movement and forcing a tube down its throat with a funnel at the end. Through this funnel the creature is force fed to such a degree that its liver swells to enormous size, causing terrible stress and pain to the bird and extreme suffering in general.

I am not a vegetarian and I used to own and run an award-winning restaurant in the 1980s. It was way ahead of its time as I did what everyone is doing now - if it wasn't home grown or locally, organically reared and produced, I didn't use it. I certainly never sold foie gras or veal - another very cruel product.

There are plenty of wonderful foods to be had without eating products produced by cruelty. Besides, who wants to eat products crammed full of hormones and antibiotics? Who wants to eat meat that had a stressful and terrifying life (and death) and is pumped full of adrenaline? As far as foie gras is concerned, who can afford it anyway?

All animals, including farm animals, have the right to be treated and handled with consideration and compassion. Most farmers do a wonderful job with animal husbandry and have a very difficult time. It's essential we support our local farmers and buy local produce and encourage them to keep going.

As for Mr Pern's book, what an unfortunate title to choose. Let's hope it doesn't deter his customers. If anyone would like to know more about Compassion in World Farming, they have an excellent website and would also come and talk to schools and other groups. The charity also campaigned for battery hens - a cause now embraced by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall.

P S SHAW-JOHNSTON, Thornton-le-Dale