U.K. stores sell out of controversial canned reindeer meet

Outcries over canned reindeer meat have actually led to a surge in its popularity.

Despite its status as perhaps the least seasonal Christmas dining fare imaginable, canned reindeer meat is a hit. In fact, it seems that a protest over the expensive pâté had the unintended effect of increasing its popularity.

A group called Vegetarians International Voice for Animals launched a protest campaign against the upscale U.K. department store Harvey Nichols for selling cans of the reindeer pâté, asking supporters to "politely complain" to the store over the allegedly traumatic harvesting process used to acquire the venison. More from MSNBC:

Admittedly, the packaging of the pâté seems designed to tweak delicate sensibilities, claiming the product is a "farm-raised relative of Rudolph" and "an indulgent Christmas treat." The pâté includes cognac and spices as well as its signature ingredients, ground meat and fat.

And now the reindeer meet is in fact off the shelves of Harvey Nichols and at online outlets such as Amazon and Edible.com--but only because stores can't keep up with customer demand for the product, which costs about $23 for a 6.7 ounce container.

Harvey Nichols defends selling the product in a statement, saying it complies with EU animal farming legislation. But store officials say that it won't be re-upping its supply of the reindeer pâté until after the holiday rush.

"[O]ur online stock has sold out due to the publicity and demand we've received," Harvey Nichols spokeswoman Constance Cooper told MSNBC in an email. "It's a seasonal product, and stocks are limited, so we will not be restocking prior to Christmas."

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