Duchess Of Hamilton Returns Christmas Gift To Fortnum & Mason In Protest Against Sale Of Foie Gras

For Immediate Release:
11 January 2011

Sandra Smiley 0207 357 9229, ext 229; [email protected]

The Duchess of Hamilton has decided to join Sir Roger Moore and PETA in their boycott of Fortnum & Mason over the store’s refusal to stop selling foie gras – the diseased livers of cruelly force-fed ducks and geese. To make her point, Lady Hamilton returned a dozen Christmas crackers, which she had received as a gift, to Fortnum & Mason, and attached a letter announcing her support of the boycott. Lady Hamilton – a longtime vegetarian – played a major role in PETA’s successful campaign against Selfridges over its foie gras sales, and in 2007, the department store Jenners in Edinburgh also removed foie gras from its shelves after Lady Hamilton turned up the pressure on the company. Upmarket retailer Harvey Nichols also recently stopped selling foie gras.

Writes Lady Hamilton in her letter to Fortnum & Mason Managing Director Beverley Aspinall, “Until you [end foie gras sales], I will regrettably be unable to shop at Fortnum and Mason”.

In foie gras production – which has been banned in the UK and more than a dozen other countries – ducks and geese are force-fed several times a day for weeks until their livers expand to up to 10 times their normal size. Investigations of foie gras farms have documented sick, dead and dying birds, some with holes in their necks from pipe injuries. Birds used in foie gras production often become severely depressed and sit shaking as they experience fear, pain and the distension of their organs.

Lady Hamilton and her late husband once hosted a Christmas lunch for PETA at their home in Scotland, but instead of serving turkey as the main course, the couple’s rescued turkeys attended the affair as the guests of honour. Sir Roger Moore has also written to Fortnum & Mason in support of the campaign and has placed an ad with PETA at the Piccadilly Circus Underground Station urging shoppers to boycott the store.

The Duchess of Hamilton’s letter to Fortnum & Mason follows. For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.

7 January 2011

Fortnum and Mason PLC
181 Piccadilly London
London W1A 1ER

Dear M/s Aspinall,

I am returning the enclosed box of Fortnum and Mason crackers to you.  They were given to me by a dear friend who was unaware that your department store continues to sell the hideously cruel pate known as “foie gras”.

My friend was understandably shocked and perplexed to learn that such an esteemed British department store is selling a product which is too cruel to produce in the UK and more than a dozen other countries.

I do hope that you will open your eyes to the plight of the terrified ducks and geese who are forced to endure the horrors of force feeding and finally to pledge to end the sale of this most un-British of products in your store.  I am asking this not only from me, but my late husband who died in June last year, would support me as we had visited a place where this force feeding took place and we vowed to do what we could to end the sale of this product in Britain.  

Until you stop selling this product, I will regrettably be unable to shop at Fortnum and Mason.

Yours sincerely,

Kathleen Hamilton
Duchess of Hamilton