A CAMPAIGNER fighting against the import of foie gras to shops and restaurants in the UK has gathered more than 100,000 signatures on a petition against the practice.

Fiona Munro, from Darlington, will travel to London this week to present the petition to the Government at 10 Downing Street and the French Embassy as part of an international day of protest against the food product.

Ms Munro is a leading campaigner against foie gras, which is made from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese that have been force-fed corn through a tube in their throats.

Although foie gras is considered a delicacy to some, particularly in France, the practice of force-feeding birds is banned in 17 countries in Europe, including the UK, on animal cruelty grounds.

However, there is no ban on importing the product, which means it is still regularly served in restaurants and department stores across Britain.

Ms Munro’s petition, which has attracted signatures from around the world, is aimed at the UK Government and the European Parliament and calls for a Europe-wide ban on the production and importation of foie gras.

The UK Government has said that a ban on importing foie gras would contravene EU trade laws.

Ms Munro, 54, who works with animal rights charities including Viva!, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) and Animal Aid to campaign against foie gras, became an activist when she spent several years living in France, where she saw for herself the conditions the birds were kept in.

She said: “When you see the force-feeding and the distress it causes the birds, I started to get very upset by it.

“The tourists in France buy foie gras because it’s a delicacy over there, but they don’t know what they are buying.

“Foie gras production is so cruel that it is banned in 17 countries. When it was still produced in the UK the farmers would nail the ducks’ feet to the floor so they could force feed them.

“How can the Government allow people to import it if it’s considered so cruel that we’re not allowed to produce it here anymore?”

The worldwide Foie Gras Protest Day will be held on Thursday, with a number of events planned for cities, including London, which Ms Munro has arranged.