A SPANISH restaurant voted among the world’s best has been fined for using foie gras from an unlicensed producer.

Mugaritz, based near Renteria in the Basque country, received the penalty after being targeted by animal rights protesters.

The restaurant was found to have served foie gras sourced from a smallholder who did not have the correct paperwork.

But chef Andoni Luis Aduriz defended the decision, insisting he was proud to support local producers.

“I am against any unjustified suffering inflicted on any living being, but I am just as much opposed to any obsessive humanisation of animals which tries to wipe out cultures that form part of our social and cultural diversity,” Aduriz said.

“A small administrative sanction is a sacrifice I am prepared to accept in order to defend smallholders, artisans and those people who try to maintain our fragile culinary patrimony.”