A FIVE-STAR resort has taken foie gras off the menu following a social media protest.

Rockliffe Hall, in Hurworth, near Darlington, has taken the controversial product off the menu of its flagship restaurant, The Orangery, after dozens of protestors took to the hotel’s Facebook page to complain about its use.

Foie gras is made from the enlarged liver of ducks or 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 more than 17 countries in Europe, including the UK, on cruelty grounds.

However, there is no ban on importing the product, meaning it is regularly served across Britain.

But following the complaints, which began to appear on Rockliffe Hall’s Facebook page on Friday (March 13), Richard Allen, chief executive of The Orangery, has chosen to remove the product from his menu.

The Michelin-starred chef said: "It's really important to us that we get feedback on what we're doing and we take all comments very seriously, especially as we are in the early days of the new-look Orangery.

“Hence we have taken the decision to remove the foie gras dish from our menu as, despite positive feedback from diners and its popularity at various restaurants in the area, it has provoked some negative reaction and we have lots of other dish options to replace it."

Fiona Munro, an animal rights activist from Darlington, was one of the dozens of protestors who posted a negative review of the hotel on its Facebook page.

“It is fantastic to see Rockliffe Hall take foie gras off the menu and I really hope other top places will do the same," she said.

“A lot people think foie gras is a luxury, exclusive item, but if you look to see how it is made there is nothing humane about it. It is deemed the world’s most cruel food.

“There are a lot of people, even in France, who are fighting against it because it is so barbaric.”

Ms Munro, who works with animal rights charities including Viva!, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) and Animal Aid, is campaigning for a foie gras-free Britain.

Her petition aimed at the UK Government and European Parliament calling for a Europe-wide ban on the production and importation of foie gras has attracted almost 115,000 signatures from around the world.

To sign the petition visit thepetitionsite.com/10/we-the-undersigned