FOIE gras is off the menu at the Weighbridge Brewhouse after a petition calling for it to be axed went viral - with reservations being cancelled and threatening emails sent to the owners.

On Monday, a paper petition being run by Sarah Chilvers, of Swindon Animal Asia Support Group, was put online as attempts to contact the Weighbridge failed.

Within 24 hours, the petition received more than 2,000 signatures, and owners Anthony and Allyson Windle reacted to protect their business, and will no longer serve the garnish with their fillet steaks.

Foie gras is created by force-feeding geese and ducks up to three times a day before they are slaughtered for their livers.

The production process is now illegal in the UK, but foie gras is still imported under EU free trade laws.

Anthony, 53, said he and his family felt victimised by some of the abusive comments sent during a single frantic day, which saw multiple bookings being cancelled.

“I have served foie gras for 38 years in different places and I feel personally victimised by all the nasty and rude comments I have had,” he said.

“To be personally petitioned and threatened by people looking to deliberately ruin my business is very hurtful.

“I have a responsibility to over 40 people in my employment to make sure my business is successful in order to pay their wages.

“We have had people phone in cancelling tables all day. This is a family-run business and all three of my children work here, so this petition has become very personal.

"I don’t think foie gras is any different to battery hens, or chickens bred from chick to table. If we weren’t serving it, someone else would be, and it feels we are being made an example of.

“I understand totally what they are saying, but people do not have to eat it if they don’t want to.

"Before the last couple of weeks we had a handful of these postcards through, and we thought they have made their point, but we were doing nothing wrong.”

Sarah said she is delighted by the move, which came as a complete surprise.

"We started contacting him a while ago saying how cruel the production process is and asking if he would take it off the menu - which he didn't," she said.

"It is so horrific that production of it in the UK is now illegal, but because of EU free trade laws it can still be imported. The only way we can stop it is by going straight to the people who are selling it.

"I am over the moon that he has agreed to take it off the menu, and I really did not expect that response. This was the only business we found selling it in Swindon, and there are other campaigns going on around the country.

"We have always been polite with the petition, but when the wider public get involved we can't control what they say."