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Chefs Ponder Life Without Foie Gras

In July, foie gras will be outlawed in California. And chefs care.

(Photo copyright Heather Irwin/BiteClubeatscom)

If you want to upset some of the area’s top chefs, bring up the subject of the California foie gras ban scheduled to take effect on July 1. Then stand back and watch the fireworks.

“It’s stupid. It’s just a misguided law,” said Chef Doug Keane, of Cyrus restaurant in Healdsburg.

Others use words like “crazy”, “unfair”, “ridiculous,” and a host of less savory terms when it comes to a food many toques consider sacred.
Keane is among a handful of chefs who have toured and watched foie gras production before deciding whether or not to keep it on the menu. Few politicians, he contends, have done the same. He is also among a number of chefs who have been picketed and assaulted by protesters for serving the controversial meat, and continues to keep it on his menu.

“This is a tradition that is thousands of years old. To deny this right of passage for any chef, who spends their life in the most fruitless of industries, just isn’t going to work,” said Chef Doug Richey, currently in the planning stages for a new restaurant and former chef of Santi. Across his knuckles the words FOIE GRAS are tattooed as a permanent and very public statement about a food product he passionately defends.

At the center of this polarizing gastro-feud among animal-rights advocates, politicians, chefs and luxury-food consumers is a specific bit of offal. Prized for centuries by the French, foie gras is the fatted liver of a duck. The birds in nature gorge themselves in the fall as they prepare for long migrations, storing fuel internally for the energy they’ll need. The unctuous fat content and indescribably rich, creamy flavor makes it highly sought-after and revered by chefs.

Catherine Bartolomei, Farmhouse Inn: “I get why people have a problem with it, but I suspect they’re not talking about the kind of foie we’re using here. It’s always on our menu and people love it. It’s just the style of restaurant we are. People seem a lot more concerned about the rabbit we serve than the foie gras. If and when the time comes, we’ll stop. But until then, we’re keeping it on our menu.”

Douglas Keane, Cyrus: “It’s hard to say what will happen. We don’t know who’ll enforce it. Hopefully someone will challenge it legally. We’ll probably serve it for a while, maybe get some fines. But I’m not sure if I need another legal battle.”

Jesse Mallgren, Madrona Manor: “I almost never order foie gras, but I figure when it’s banned I’ll have to take trips out of state to buy it for myself. It will come off the menu, but I have a couple ideas around it. I’m praying that the bill gets repealed, but that doesn’t look like it will happen. We’ll just kind of see what the backlash and fines are. But I may serve it to some of our guests off-menu.”

Doug Richey, former chef at Santi: “When the foie gras police come kick down the door with a warrant, I stop serving it. But I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around any law-enforcement agency spending any money to fine a restaurant for serving foie gras.”

Josh Silvers, Petite Syrah: “Pork belly is the new foie gras? Nothing will ever replace foie, but it’s pretty good. The bill is very poorly written, and if you took it literally it would include turkeys, because they definitely don’t look like that in the wild. I might go to Nevada to get some. I’m not sure yet.”

Dustin Valette, Dry Creek Kitchen: “Foie gras is not consistently on the Dry Creek menu currently, but does sometimes run as a special.” Valette plans to take it off the menu if SB1520 goes into effect on July 1.

Mark Stark, Stark’s Steakhouse: “This is a stepping stone. And if everyone realized that, there would be a lot more people up in arms. Why are people making these choices for us? I think people have a right to chose for themselves. I’ll take it off the menu, because leaving it on is just a street fight and longterm that isn’t the way to go.”

Taking advantage of the duck’s natural proclivity to overeat, production facilities use a controversial method of force-feeding the French called gavage. Advocates say the ducks, which lack a gag reflex, don’t mind the feedings and, in fact, come running for the extra food. Detractors point to documented injuries to foie gras ducks who have suffer ruptured organs and misery as a result of poorly performed gavage. As a result, California enacted Senate Bill 1520 in 2004, completely banning the production and sale of foie gras throughout the state beginning on July 1, 2012. The city of Chicago enacted a ban on foie gras in in 2006, but overwhelmingly overturned it two years later.

With eight years between Gov. Arnold Scharzenegger’s signing and actual enforcement, the threatened ban has been mostly static for foie gras lovers, who have continued to indulge at dozens of Bay Area restaurants that serve it without reservation. But with the deadline looming, chefs are beginning to think about what a future without legal foie gras will look like.

“I think its a shame, because the majority of people who voted for the law have never tried (foie gras) or don’t know what it is,” said Josh Silvers of Petite Syrah restaurant. “They saw a bunch of posters and pictures that, frankly, are ugly but not representative of how purveyors like Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras do things. Those ducks live a really nice life, and they have one really bad day and that’s it.”
His menu has long featured the delicacy, but come July he likely will pull it.

“In my dreams I won’t have to worry about it, but I know there won’t be a seller in California for restaurants. And there’s going to be a $1,000 fine for selling it,” he said.

Exactly who or how the law will be enforced is another question. According to the bill, a “peace officer, officer of a humane society, officer of an animal control or animal regulation department may issue a citation” and the county district attorney or city attorney may prosecute.
Already chefs and enthusiastic foie gras lovers are talking about ways around the law. In Chicago, chefs served $8 glasses of bubbly for $22 and gave a “complimentary” serving of foie gras to patrons. Underground foie gras dinners are likely to pop up, serving foie secreted across borders. In fact, some see the whole prohibition as a boon.

“Demand and production went up in Chicago during their prohibition,” said Richey. “I’m already thinking of speakeasy style communication and off-menu items. People are gonna get really creative.”

Statewide, a number of chefs are planning multi-course foie gras dinners as the end date approaches. In San Francisco, celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, well-known for his nose-to-tail philosophy, organized a meeting of chefs to discuss the ban in October. He plans to continue the fight against the ban with dinners and fundraisers. A petition to keep foie gras legal has been created by the Artisan Farmers Alliance.

Others have a more resigned public stance. “Foie gras has been a mainstay of classical cuisine for centuries and is one of the most popular menu items at our restaurants,” said Dustin Valette, executive chef at Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. “Although earlier methods may have been primitive, there have been mindful modifications in the way foie gras is produced and we have always been conscious of sourcing from these humane vendors.

“With that said, rules are rules and when SB1520, forbidding the production and sale of foie gras in California, takes effect in July we will abide.”

The big question for many locals, however, is whether Sonoma-Artisan, which produces foie gras in Sonoma County, will remain in Sonoma County. Though the owner did not return calls, an employee of the business said that they are still investigating the possibility of legal solutions for continuing their business from California. Precluding that, however, they will relocate.

Not all chefs are foie gras supporters. Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter banned it from his kitchens in 2005 and L.A.’s Wolfgang Puck eliminated it from his menus in 2007. The expensive, luxury nature of foie gras, along with its sky-high fat and caloric content, aren’t helping its cause in a nation suffering from economic doldrums and epidemic levels of obesity. Animal-rights activists see all the posturing as futile.

“This is a rather embarrassing temper tantrum on the part of these chefs; the bill will take effect whether they like it or not,” said Lindsay Rajt, an associate director with the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, in a recent interview.

EDUCATE YOURSELF

Read SB1520

PRO
Chris Cosentino’s “Shock and Foie”
Serious Eats: Why Foie is not Unethical
Dan Barber on a “humane” foie gras production in Spain

NEUTRAL(ISH)

Chef’s Directory: Video of duck production at Fortnum and Mason, a foie gras producer

CON
Humane Society page on force-fed animals
PETA’s “delicacy of Despair”
Farm Sanctuary: No Foie Gras

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Comments

95 thoughts on “Chefs Ponder Life Without Foie Gras

  1. So, no uproar over boiling lobsters live ? Give me a break and pay attention to real issues ( homlessness, addiction, HIV, etc )

    1. I’m with you. I think maybe we need to direct a little more attention to issues of humans. And uh, of factory farming. But that’s just me.

  2. So, no uproar over boiling lobsters live ? Give me a break and pay attention to real issues ( homlessness, addiction, HIV, etc )

  3. So, no uproar over boiling lobsters live ? Give me a break and pay attention to real issues ( homlessness, addiction, HIV, etc )

    1. I’m with you. I think maybe we need to direct a little more attention to issues of humans. And uh, of factory farming. But that’s just me.

    1. Actually the best foie gras can be had at Mugaritz in San-Sebastian. Chef Aduriz worked with the University of Granada’s liver transplant unit to better understand the DNA of duck livers. He is said to discard some 70 per cent of what he buys, serving only the finest lobes, cooked in a multi-stage process of searing, roasting, smoking and resting.

      BEST FOIE IN THE WORLD. WELL WORTH THE TRIP!

    1. Actually the best foie gras can be had at Mugaritz in San-Sebastian. Chef Aduriz worked with the University of Granada’s liver transplant unit to better understand the DNA of duck livers. He is said to discard some 70 per cent of what he buys, serving only the finest lobes, cooked in a multi-stage process of searing, roasting, smoking and resting.

      BEST FOIE IN THE WORLD. WELL WORTH THE TRIP!

  4. Maybe those self-important chefs that can’t do their thing without abusing animals should plan to move to someplace where their lack talent will not be noticed, like maybe Nevada or Arizona.

    1. Excellent suggestion. Because without all those talentless Michelin-starred chefs there would be a lot more space for places like Macaroni Grill, Cheesecake Factory and Red Lobster.

    2. Force feeding fowl is not animal abuse…You’re obviously uneducated and uninformed to the reality of foie production. Go join PETA and make a human sacrifice to your god of stupidity

      1. Well, if shoving a metal pipe down the ducks throat 3 times a day isn’t abuse than lets see the first person to stand in line for that daily feeding rutine. why don’t you do your research before you make that kind of comment! I am just sickened at the way people treat farm animals. by the way, I’m not a vegetarian because I do eat meat from time to time but the way these poor animals are treated is just unexceptable and more restrictions should be inforced.

  5. Maybe those self-important chefs that can’t do their thing without abusing animals should plan to move to someplace where their lack talent will not be noticed, like maybe Nevada or Arizona.

  6. Maybe those self-important chefs that can’t do their thing without abusing animals should plan to move to someplace where their lack talent will not be noticed, like maybe Nevada or Arizona.

    1. Excellent suggestion. Because without all those talentless Michelin-starred chefs there would be a lot more space for places like Macaroni Grill, Cheesecake Factory and Red Lobster.

    2. Force feeding fowl is not animal abuse…You’re obviously uneducated and uninformed to the reality of foie production. Go join PETA and make a human sacrifice to your god of stupidity

      1. Well, if shoving a metal pipe down the ducks throat 3 times a day isn’t abuse than lets see the first person to stand in line for that daily feeding rutine. why don’t you do your research before you make that kind of comment! I am just sickened at the way people treat farm animals. by the way, I’m not a vegetarian because I do eat meat from time to time but the way these poor animals are treated is just unexceptable and more restrictions should be inforced.

  7. Maybe those self-important chefs that can’t do their thing without abusing animals should plan to move to someplace where their lack talent will not be noticed, like maybe Nevada or Arizona.

  8. Foie Gras, is very cruel. How would you like food shoved down your throat. When I go into a restrauant and find out they serve Foie Gras, I leave. I tell all my friends also not to go to that restrauant. Plain and simple a person can order some other meat and enjoy that. The days of being mean to animals is over.

    1. So please, tell me how “some other meat” is going to be any different. Have you ever been to a CAFO? I have, and it’s disgusting. I think I’ll start a movement so you can’t eat your favorite steak or even a burger. You can live without it. I know better than you and I’m just looking out for your welfare. You’ll thank me later. (sarcasm off)
      Banning only foie gras without banning every other type of commercially raised meat is the highest form of hypocrisy. Ban it all or ban none of it. RB has it right when they said below that other commercially raised products aren’t targeted because of the multi-billion dollar lobby industry. Ducks for Foie gras are treated no differently than cattle for steaks or chicken for nuggets. Oh, and we should ban baloot down at the Asian Market too. Just sayin.’

  9. Foie Gras, is very cruel. How would you like food shoved down your throat. When I go into a restrauant and find out they serve Foie Gras, I leave. I tell all my friends also not to go to that restrauant. Plain and simple a person can order some other meat and enjoy that. The days of being mean to animals is over.

  10. Foie Gras, is very cruel. How would you like food shoved down your throat. When I go into a restrauant and find out they serve Foie Gras, I leave. I tell all my friends also not to go to that restrauant. Plain and simple a person can order some other meat and enjoy that. The days of being mean to animals is over.

    1. So please, tell me how “some other meat” is going to be any different. Have you ever been to a CAFO? I have, and it’s disgusting. I think I’ll start a movement so you can’t eat your favorite steak or even a burger. You can live without it. I know better than you and I’m just looking out for your welfare. You’ll thank me later. (sarcasm off)
      Banning only foie gras without banning every other type of commercially raised meat is the highest form of hypocrisy. Ban it all or ban none of it. RB has it right when they said below that other commercially raised products aren’t targeted because of the multi-billion dollar lobby industry. Ducks for Foie gras are treated no differently than cattle for steaks or chicken for nuggets. Oh, and we should ban baloot down at the Asian Market too. Just sayin.’

  11. Both the morons at peta and the government need to stay the hell out of my kitchen. Ban Foie but shove all this crap laden with GMO’s on us? Really, both peta and government need to back to sucking on the corporate teat and leave us adults to make our own choices.

    1. Corn syrup is the opiate of the masses.

      If we could get people half as riled up about the absolute horrifying crap in our food supply as they are about animal cruelty, it would be a far better world.

  12. For many of the chefs, i think the issue comes down to self-regulation versus government regulation. The point that most of the chefs who serve foie gras have is that they are stewards of what they serve. They care deeply about how/where the animals are raised and processed. And they don’t want government to swoop in and make that decision for them. The other question is how far this kind of regulation would go? To what logical end could this be taken? Are eggs outlawed? Is pork? Beef?

    I don’t think any chef will disagree that eating meat of any sort requires an animal to die. You either accept that and eat the meat or you don’t.

    The question for me is whether gavage is actually MORE cruel than say caging chickens, and to what degree? I personally don’t feel good about caged chickens. It’s hard to deny that cutting off animals’ beaks and stuffing then into cages where they can’t move is cruel. The animal suffers at some level. I have personally chosen to research the issue and buy cage-free eggs and chickens that are free-range and minimally processed as often as I can. That is my personal choice based on my spending a lot of time educating myself.

    With foie gras, I’m on the fence. What I’ve seen (and I am not an expert. nor are most folks who are against foie gras), reputable foie gras producers are small family farmers who can’t afford to injure or hurt their flocks in any serious way. Gavage does LOOK awful ,but the animals don’t have a gag reflex and naturally stuff themselves in the fall. Gavage usually happens the last two weeks of the animals’ life, with the rest of their time being spent being, well, ducks. Is it right? I’m not sure. I do trust people like Doug Keane who is a responsible steward, has visited the foie gras producers and is a very compassionate animal lover, and I will eat what he serves with confidence as long as I choose to eat meat.

    I realize this discussion will likely degrade, but I urge people to follow the links I’ve provided to educate yourselves. Whether you’re pro or against Foie Gras is a personal choice — but don’t just spout propaganda. Really know what you are talking about as best you can and let’s try to educate each other rationally from whatever point we’re coming from.

    1. Great reasoned response, BiteClub! Best analysis I’ve seen on this issue.

      Is it cruel? My great-grandmother (from Chicago funny enough) used to “gavage” the ducks. They literally ran to her when she got the food out. I’m not sure why everyone is calling this cruel and inhumane when they do this in the wild to themselves. Sure, there are folks out there who probably woudn’t do that great of a job with this whole thing and injure or kill the animals in the process. But as BiteClub says, they raise chickens with no beaks in cages and they can’t move. I would argue that is MORE inhumane than gavage. Get your foie from great producers, just as good chefs source all their food from the best sources.

      Finally, if you don’t want to eat it, don’t. Vegetarians co-exist with meat-eaters and do just fine. But don’t tell me what I can’t eat, please under the guise of saying it’s cruel or inhumane. Again, there are true cruel and inhumane ways to raise animals that exist out there. Foie Gras isn’t one of them.

    2. I am a vegetarian. I have a big problem with the way animals raised for their meat and by-products are treated in this country. That said, banning foie gras seems like a pretty ridiculous thing to do with factory farming practices as obscene and widespread as they are. If the government really wants to intervene on the behalf of abused animals, it ought to ban practices like cutting off chickens’ beaks and keeping cattle and pigs in tiny spaces with their own waste. From what I’ve read (and no, I have not observed the process myself), gavage done correctly is not any worse than those practices, and may even be less cruel and inhumane.

      It seems to me that the government is only okay with stepping in when taking action isn’t going to significantly impact Big Agra. People in general seem to only support bans which probably won’t affect them that much, either. I can only imagine how much people would get up in arms about a ban on factory-farmed pork or beef. But if people are truly concerned about the welfare of animals, they shouldn’t be stressing so much about foie gras, which is consumed occasionally by a relatively small number of people. They should be stressing about the deplorable conditions suffered by the vast majority of animals destined for America’s dinner plates. It seems silly to me that foie gras is such a contentious topic, even amongst people who don’t give a second thought to where the rest of their food comes from.

  13. Foie Gras, is very cruel. How would you like food shoved down your throat. When I go into a restrauant and find out they serve Foie Gras, I leave. I tell all my friends also not to go to that restrauant. Plain and simple a person can order some other meat and enjoy that. The days of being mean to animals is over.

  14. Sometimes…like in the case of animal cruelty, or child abuse, governing forces must step in to protect the innocent rom those who would torture, maim, or commit acts of perversion upon them. While we all may be guilty of the “proclivity to overeat”, none of us wishes to be force fed several times a day until our livers bulge from the strain. Have you ever known anyone who had cirrhosis or liver cancer? Did it whet your appectite to watch their painful life?. It is not “one bad day” as the ill informed chef pointed out, it is a TOTALLY UNNATURAL bad life. So, yes, when human beings are not capeable of controlling their cruelty, of not torturing animals to please themselves, they need to be stopped by governing forces. Look at the cruelty here…how shameful.

        1. I like the ban. Peta has done a good job but needs to keep going and get more space for chickens. Violations for them are too common. Pigs and cattle are pretty good shape. I think they should ban veal. They are put in a box from birth and fed only milk. They live a life of horror, for our dining enjoyment. Disgusting…

  15. Both the morons at peta and the government need to stay the hell out of my kitchen. Ban Foie but shove all this crap laden with GMO’s on us? Really, both peta and government need to back to sucking on the corporate teat and leave us adults to make our own choices.

  16. Both the morons at peta and the government need to stay the hell out of my kitchen. Ban Foie but shove all this crap laden with GMO’s on us? Really, both peta and government need to back to sucking on the corporate teat and leave us adults to make our own choices.

    1. Corn syrup is the opiate of the masses.

      If we could get people half as riled up about the absolute horrifying crap in our food supply as they are about animal cruelty, it would be a far better world.

  17. For many of the chefs, i think the issue comes down to self-regulation versus government regulation. The point that most of the chefs who serve foie gras have is that they are stewards of what they serve. They care deeply about how/where the animals are raised and processed. And they don’t want government to swoop in and make that decision for them. The other question is how far this kind of regulation would go? To what logical end could this be taken? Are eggs outlawed? Is pork? Beef?

    I don’t think any chef will disagree that eating meat of any sort requires an animal to die. You either accept that and eat the meat or you don’t.

    The question for me is whether gavage is actually MORE cruel than say caging chickens, and to what degree? I personally don’t feel good about caged chickens. It’s hard to deny that cutting off animals’ beaks and stuffing then into cages where they can’t move is cruel. The animal suffers at some level. I have personally chosen to research the issue and buy cage-free eggs and chickens that are free-range and minimally processed as often as I can. That is my personal choice based on my spending a lot of time educating myself.

    With foie gras, I’m on the fence. What I’ve seen (and I am not an expert. nor are most folks who are against foie gras), reputable foie gras producers are small family farmers who can’t afford to injure or hurt their flocks in any serious way. Gavage does LOOK awful ,but the animals don’t have a gag reflex and naturally stuff themselves in the fall. Gavage usually happens the last two weeks of the animals’ life, with the rest of their time being spent being, well, ducks. Is it right? I’m not sure. I do trust people like Doug Keane who is a responsible steward, has visited the foie gras producers and is a very compassionate animal lover, and I will eat what he serves with confidence as long as I choose to eat meat.

    I realize this discussion will likely degrade, but I urge people to follow the links I’ve provided to educate yourselves. Whether you’re pro or against Foie Gras is a personal choice — but don’t just spout propaganda. Really know what you are talking about as best you can and let’s try to educate each other rationally from whatever point we’re coming from.

  18. For many of the chefs, i think the issue comes down to self-regulation versus government regulation. The point that most of the chefs who serve foie gras have is that they are stewards of what they serve. They care deeply about how/where the animals are raised and processed. And they don’t want government to swoop in and make that decision for them. The other question is how far this kind of regulation would go? To what logical end could this be taken? Are eggs outlawed? Is pork? Beef?

    I don’t think any chef will disagree that eating meat of any sort requires an animal to die. You either accept that and eat the meat or you don’t.

    The question for me is whether gavage is actually MORE cruel than say caging chickens, and to what degree? I personally don’t feel good about caged chickens. It’s hard to deny that cutting off animals’ beaks and stuffing then into cages where they can’t move is cruel. The animal suffers at some level. I have personally chosen to research the issue and buy cage-free eggs and chickens that are free-range and minimally processed as often as I can. That is my personal choice based on my spending a lot of time educating myself.

    With foie gras, I’m on the fence. What I’ve seen (and I am not an expert. nor are most folks who are against foie gras), reputable foie gras producers are small family farmers who can’t afford to injure or hurt their flocks in any serious way. Gavage does LOOK awful ,but the animals don’t have a gag reflex and naturally stuff themselves in the fall. Gavage usually happens the last two weeks of the animals’ life, with the rest of their time being spent being, well, ducks. Is it right? I’m not sure. I do trust people like Doug Keane who is a responsible steward, has visited the foie gras producers and is a very compassionate animal lover, and I will eat what he serves with confidence as long as I choose to eat meat.

    I realize this discussion will likely degrade, but I urge people to follow the links I’ve provided to educate yourselves. Whether you’re pro or against Foie Gras is a personal choice — but don’t just spout propaganda. Really know what you are talking about as best you can and let’s try to educate each other rationally from whatever point we’re coming from.

    1. Great reasoned response, BiteClub! Best analysis I’ve seen on this issue.

      Is it cruel? My great-grandmother (from Chicago funny enough) used to “gavage” the ducks. They literally ran to her when she got the food out. I’m not sure why everyone is calling this cruel and inhumane when they do this in the wild to themselves. Sure, there are folks out there who probably woudn’t do that great of a job with this whole thing and injure or kill the animals in the process. But as BiteClub says, they raise chickens with no beaks in cages and they can’t move. I would argue that is MORE inhumane than gavage. Get your foie from great producers, just as good chefs source all their food from the best sources.

      Finally, if you don’t want to eat it, don’t. Vegetarians co-exist with meat-eaters and do just fine. But don’t tell me what I can’t eat, please under the guise of saying it’s cruel or inhumane. Again, there are true cruel and inhumane ways to raise animals that exist out there. Foie Gras isn’t one of them.

    2. I am a vegetarian. I have a big problem with the way animals raised for their meat and by-products are treated in this country. That said, banning foie gras seems like a pretty ridiculous thing to do with factory farming practices as obscene and widespread as they are. If the government really wants to intervene on the behalf of abused animals, it ought to ban practices like cutting off chickens’ beaks and keeping cattle and pigs in tiny spaces with their own waste. From what I’ve read (and no, I have not observed the process myself), gavage done correctly is not any worse than those practices, and may even be less cruel and inhumane.

      It seems to me that the government is only okay with stepping in when taking action isn’t going to significantly impact Big Agra. People in general seem to only support bans which probably won’t affect them that much, either. I can only imagine how much people would get up in arms about a ban on factory-farmed pork or beef. But if people are truly concerned about the welfare of animals, they shouldn’t be stressing so much about foie gras, which is consumed occasionally by a relatively small number of people. They should be stressing about the deplorable conditions suffered by the vast majority of animals destined for America’s dinner plates. It seems silly to me that foie gras is such a contentious topic, even amongst people who don’t give a second thought to where the rest of their food comes from.

  19. Sometimes…like in the case of animal cruelty, or child abuse, governing forces must step in to protect the innocent rom those who would torture, maim, or commit acts of perversion upon them. While we all may be guilty of the “proclivity to overeat”, none of us wishes to be force fed several times a day until our livers bulge from the strain. Have you ever known anyone who had cirrhosis or liver cancer? Did it whet your appectite to watch their painful life?. It is not “one bad day” as the ill informed chef pointed out, it is a TOTALLY UNNATURAL bad life. So, yes, when human beings are not capeable of controlling their cruelty, of not torturing animals to please themselves, they need to be stopped by governing forces. Look at the cruelty here…how shameful.

  20. Sometimes…like in the case of animal cruelty, or child abuse, governing forces must step in to protect the innocent rom those who would torture, maim, or commit acts of perversion upon them. While we all may be guilty of the “proclivity to overeat”, none of us wishes to be force fed several times a day until our livers bulge from the strain. Have you ever known anyone who had cirrhosis or liver cancer? Did it whet your appectite to watch their painful life?. It is not “one bad day” as the ill informed chef pointed out, it is a TOTALLY UNNATURAL bad life. So, yes, when human beings are not capeable of controlling their cruelty, of not torturing animals to please themselves, they need to be stopped by governing forces. Look at the cruelty here…how shameful.

        1. I like the ban. Peta has done a good job but needs to keep going and get more space for chickens. Violations for them are too common. Pigs and cattle are pretty good shape. I think they should ban veal. They are put in a box from birth and fed only milk. They live a life of horror, for our dining enjoyment. Disgusting…

  21. “Those ducks live a really nice life, and they have one really bad day and that’s it.” What famous historical religious figure heard the same crap from the Romans…

    The big question for many locals, however, is whether Sonoma-Artisan, which produces foie gras in Sonoma County, will remain in Sonoma County.
    News Flash: DEA agents today uncovered a secret tunnel leading into San Diego from an underground
    farm in Tijuana,finding foie gras being prepared for U.S. chefs at the Mexican end of the tunnel.
    The tunnel was discovered by an alert traffic officer directing traffic in a busy Tijuana intersection. “I heard quacking sounds–it was a different noise than the usual backfiring and squeaking brake sounds,” said
    Sgt. Gosling O’Henry. “I looked down a sewer grating and saw a long line of white ducks parading single-file toward the U.S.A.”

  22. For many of the chefs, i think the issue comes down to self-regulation versus government regulation. The point that most of the chefs who serve foie gras have is that they are stewards of what they serve. They care deeply about how/where the animals are raised and processed. And they don’t want government to swoop in and make that decision for them. The other question is how far this kind of regulation would go? To what logical end could this be taken? Are eggs outlawed? Is pork? Beef?

    I don’t think any chef will disagree that eating meat of any sort requires an animal to die. You either accept that and eat the meat or you don’t.

    The question for me is whether gavage is actually MORE cruel than say caging chickens, and to what degree? I personally don’t feel good about caged chickens. It’s hard to deny that cutting off animals’ beaks and stuffing then into cages where they can’t move is cruel. The animal suffers at some level. I have personally chosen to research the issue and buy cage-free eggs and chickens that are free-range and minimally processed as often as I can. That is my personal choice based on my spending a lot of time educating myself.

    With foie gras, I’m on the fence. What I’ve seen (and I am not an expert. nor are most folks who are against foie gras), reputable foie gras producers are small family farmers who can’t afford to injure or hurt their flocks in any serious way. Gavage does LOOK awful ,but the animals don’t have a gag reflex and naturally stuff themselves in the fall. Gavage usually happens the last two weeks of the animals’ life, with the rest of their time being spent being, well, ducks. Is it right? I’m not sure. I do trust people like Doug Keane who is a responsible steward, has visited the foie gras producers and is a very compassionate animal lover, and I will eat what he serves with confidence as long as I choose to eat meat.

    I realize this discussion will likely degrade, but I urge people to follow the links I’ve provided to educate yourselves. Whether you’re pro or against Foie Gras is a personal choice — but don’t just spout propaganda. Really know what you are talking about as best you can and let’s try to educate each other rationally from whatever point we’re coming from.

  23. “Those ducks live a really nice life, and they have one really bad day and that’s it.” What famous historical religious figure heard the same crap from the Romans…

    The big question for many locals, however, is whether Sonoma-Artisan, which produces foie gras in Sonoma County, will remain in Sonoma County.
    News Flash: DEA agents today uncovered a secret tunnel leading into San Diego from an underground
    farm in Tijuana,finding foie gras being prepared for U.S. chefs at the Mexican end of the tunnel.
    The tunnel was discovered by an alert traffic officer directing traffic in a busy Tijuana intersection. “I heard quacking sounds–it was a different noise than the usual backfiring and squeaking brake sounds,” said
    Sgt. Gosling O’Henry. “I looked down a sewer grating and saw a long line of white ducks parading single-file toward the U.S.A.”

  24. “Those ducks live a really nice life, and they have one really bad day and that’s it.” What famous historical religious figure heard the same crap from the Romans…

    The big question for many locals, however, is whether Sonoma-Artisan, which produces foie gras in Sonoma County, will remain in Sonoma County.
    News Flash: DEA agents today uncovered a secret tunnel leading into San Diego from an underground
    farm in Tijuana,finding foie gras being prepared for U.S. chefs at the Mexican end of the tunnel.
    The tunnel was discovered by an alert traffic officer directing traffic in a busy Tijuana intersection. “I heard quacking sounds–it was a different noise than the usual backfiring and squeaking brake sounds,” said
    Sgt. Gosling O’Henry. “I looked down a sewer grating and saw a long line of white ducks parading single-file toward the U.S.A.”

  25. While any good chef could live with-out it, sounds like the public wants it. If Chicago is any indication, the Ban could actually increased the demand for it, thus creating a larger demand then if they just let individuals make up their own mind; rather than the special interest/government trying to tell us what not to eat. But as one of the chefs said “this is just a stepping stone.” I’m sure PETA would like us all to eat vegetables, …until a court ruling comes out that carrots have individual rights too! Then when we die off as a species, Mother Earth can rusumes it’s own mass extinctions, global climate changes and unfairness to certain animals with no human interference. Everything will be unfair, just like it always has been.

  26. While any good chef could live with-out it, sounds like the public wants it. If Chicago is any indication, the Ban could actually increased the demand for it, thus creating a larger demand then if they just let individuals make up their own mind; rather than the special interest/government trying to tell us what not to eat. But as one of the chefs said “this is just a stepping stone.” I’m sure PETA would like us all to eat vegetables, …until a court ruling comes out that carrots have individual rights too! Then when we die off as a species, Mother Earth can rusumes it’s own mass extinctions, global climate changes and unfairness to certain animals with no human interference. Everything will be unfair, just like it always has been.

  27. While any good chef could live with-out it, sounds like the public wants it. If Chicago is any indication, the Ban could actually increased the demand for it, thus creating a larger demand then if they just let individuals make up their own mind; rather than the special interest/government trying to tell us what not to eat. But as one of the chefs said “this is just a stepping stone.” I’m sure PETA would like us all to eat vegetables, …until a court ruling comes out that carrots have individual rights too! Then when we die off as a species, Mother Earth can rusumes it’s own mass extinctions, global climate changes and unfairness to certain animals with no human interference. Everything will be unfair, just like it always has been.

  28. a speak easy for an expensive, ultra fat bird? sounds like a first world problem to me. any good chef can live without it.

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