France will fight for the right to continue exporting foie gras, the delicacy produced by the force-feeding of geese and ducks, President Francois Hollande has pledged.

A law against foie gras sales took effect in California this month - the first ban of its kind in the world. France fears that similar legislation may spring up elsewhere in the United States.

Only a small part of French production is exported, but Hollande found time to visit a farm which makes foie gras at Monlezun, in Gers, southwest France, at the weekend.

"Foie gras is a great French product which honours the farmers who devote their lives to it," he said.


"I will not allow any challenge to foie gras exports, from certain countries or from certain American states." It is unclear what France can do about the Californian ban, which was passed into law after a campaign by animal rights activists, supported by Hollywood celebrities and pop stars, including Sir Paul McCartney.

France fears, however, that the implementation of the Californian law could encourage copycat legislation in other US states - and maybe even within the European Union.

While admitting that he could not fight the US law directly, Hollande said he would argue for France's right under free trade treaties to export a "good product" which respects "health norms" and "animal comfort".

In the meantime, he said, he would bombard US political leaders with gifts of foie gras.

- Independent