TV Chef Rachel Allen addresses controversial pheasant kill photo with Facebook post
Celebrity chef and best-selling author Rachel Allen has today addressed the controversy over a recent photo on her Facebook page in which she posed with a shotgun and four dead pheasants.
The photo in question, which we've featured above, stemmed from a day of hunting on December 23 and included the caption: 'Enjoyed a great day's shooting in North Cork recently where I managed to get a few birds for our St Stephen's Day lunch.' A recipe for Game Terrine was included afterwards.
Only in recent days, however, has the chef's picture provoked a furious reaction from animal rights campaigners, who have pledged to boycott the TV personality's cookery books and TV appearances.
The controversy was further stoked after the Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) claimed that Ballymaloe House - where Rachel teaches cookery courses - held a hunt last weekend which ARAN claims broke a commitment which Ballymaloe had made to not use hounds for their annual New Year's Day hunting tradition.
This afternoon Rachel addressed both scandals in a lengthy Facebook post. The full statement, which can be found on her 'RachelAnnCook' page here, reads as follows:
'Two issues have arisen, which I think I ought to address;
'The first relates to the below post of a photograph to accompany a recipe for Game Terrine. This page is an information outlet for food-related topics only and I have always tried to include information relating to the recipes or events featured, both to promote them and contextualize [sic] them.
'The origin or sourcing of food has been a long-held interest and concern of mine and I have gone to great lengths in my current series to trace the provenance of food and respect it. No objection was raised to showing pigs being sourced for chorizo, or sheep for a curry dish, for example.
'The second issue relates to the linking of the Facebook posting both to fox hunting generally and the meeting of a local hunt at Ballymaloe House in particular.
'Firstly, I should point out that I have no interest in fox hunting of any kind and I am not aware of any association between family members and fox hunting.
'Secondly, the lands at Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School are and for generations, have been, preserved. This means that no hunting of any kind takes place on the farmlands.
'Thirdly, the hunt traditionally meets at Ballymaloe House on New Year’s Day only, since long before I was born. The welcome of Ballymaloe House is world famous and we are always anxious, when we can, to uphold that traditional country hospitality.'
The celebrity chef's comments have thus far received a favourable response from her fans, with over 340 'Likes' in the first three hours since they were posted.