California's Got The Right Idea: Help Ban Foie Gras In Florida (Video)

Categories: Fuming Foodie
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As Short Order reported recently, California's ban on foie gras finally went into effect earlier this month.

Unfortunately, due to the lax wording of the ban, restaurants have found it possible to circumvent the law and serve the item to customers. The California law specifies that restaurants cannot sell food derived from birds that are force-fed, so restaurants like Hot's Kitchen in Los Angeles began offering foie gras as a free side dish. Palio d'Asti in San Francisco encourages customers to bring in their own foie gras, which chefs will then prepare on the premises.

Clever and conscious-less restaurateurs, such as Chef Ray Tang of the Presidio Club is selling foie gras on federal land. Since the restaurant is located in a national park, California law does not apply.

"We don't even have a California liquor license," brags Tang, who researched what laws would and would not apply to his restaurant before he opened in 2006. After introducing his foie gras slider served on a brioche bun with pineapple confit, Tang says that the calls for reservations came flooding in -- as did calls from upset customers.

And customers should be upset. Foie gras is French for fat liver. To make foie gras, the livers of ducks and geese are fattened through force feeding, then the organ is harvested for you to eventually be able to spread it on a cracker or crostini.

Many chefs have no problem with foie gras -- including many respected Miami chefs. They don't believe the process is cruel. And people like Anthony Bourdain are responsible for perpetuating that myth.

In a holiday episode of No Reservations, Bourdian pontificates about the wonderful treatment that ducks receive at the Hudson Valley Foie Gras Farm as an example of how not-cruel foie gras farming is. He even goes so far to call those who support a ban, "twisted, angry people" and "fanatical extremists."

As you can see in the video below, the episode features cute little ducks waddling around cage free and anyone watching the show would be convinced that harvesting fat fowl livers is a slightly unpleasant, but humane process.



The truth is that the process at Hudson Valley doesn't seem cruel at all, but this is one farm out of many. At other farms, ducks are placed in cages so small that they cannot even spread their wings or turn around. Their short lives are lived trapped inside tiny cages, never walking on grass or swimming in water. Instead, they swim in their own waste.



I find this practice horrifying. I'm not a vegetarian or a member of PETA. I'm not a huge animal rights activist. But, the conditions on some of these farms are horrendous. Shame on Anthony Bourdain for airing a walk-through of the exception and shame on these California restaurants for using loopholes to continue serving foie gras. Had I not done further research, I would also be against the ban -- but after seeing some videos of other foie gras farms -- farms that Bourdain neglected to visit -- there is no possible way to deny that the animals are mistreated.

As of today, Florida has not banned foie gras. If you think it's time to change that, sign this petition.

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21 comments
Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

Apart from the conditions at foie gras farms, I do not believe it is ethical to force-feed an animal -- no matter how impeccable the conditions are. And it does not matter that their bodies can take it. That's just not cool.  I chose that video (among many that were available, btw) because it was narrated by Roger Moore. If you search YouTube, you will find plenty of other videos depicting similar conditions. 

Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

I totally agree. ALL farms -- cow, pig, whatever -- should treat he animals properly. But honestly, regarding foie gras farms, apart from the conditions, is force-feeding an animal okay just because their body can take it? I think just the fact that animals are being force-fed is kinda cruel. I'm sorry if my comment was a bit snarky. :)

JPZ
JPZ

under the link I posted there's a section about 'physiology' and 'esophagus'. Clearly we are in the same side, animal farms should be humane and animals should be treated with dignity and respect. There's no questioning that. from what im reading in the article, ducks dont mind being fed that way since physiologically they can handle it. In good farms, the farmers make sure if the duck wants to stop feeding they just let them go and feed them the next time. i think there has to be a clear separation of arguments, about foie gras, one is it pleasant for the duck and two how's the environment of the animals. the latter I agree with you, this should be for ALL farms but to directly or indirectly insinuate that foie gras farms are dirty is misleading. Some farms will be bad farms which might constitute some foie gras farms. The former is where your argument should stand in. Clearly that article supports my side, can you provide some kind of evidence stating the contrary. Sorry if I was a bit condescending. 

Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

Hi JPZ, I just read my post again and still couldn't find where I said that *all* foie gras farms have deplorable conditions. Be a dear and quote me!  P.S. If you use the phrase "educate yourself" it should be followed by something that would actually educate the person. The article you linked to not only states what I stated (some farms = bad, some farms = good), it does not offer any evidence that proves that FORCE-FEEDING ANIMALS IS COOL. That is all.

Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

Hi Bryan, I'd like to clear something up for you. My post is an opinion piece -- more specifically, it is my opinion -- Fuming Foodie. It is not the news section. 

weaksauce
weaksauce

maybe we should sign a petition to ban the word foodie..and you from writing.

Andy Tait
Andy Tait

Ridiculous and offensive to chefs everywhere.

Michael Cisneros
Michael Cisneros

/didn't this same blog, not one month ago, give us a piece highlighting the reactions of local chefs against the foie gras ban? you know, the one that quoted Michael Schwartz as saying "It's total fucking bullshit. ... Pick some battle that's going to mean something." i'm glad that lesson stuck, guys.

Michael Cisneros
Michael Cisneros

oh hell yes! let's completely ignore the horrendous practices most commercial farmers employ in bringing us the oh-so-humane meat we find in our chicken nuggets, and jump right on this fucking idiotic bandwagon. that's what's cool, right? let's attack the livelihoods of small farmers with specific practices, most of which are actually a lot more humane and responsible than the methods that give us the typical "good" meat we're buying at the corner megamart. let's continue to be uneducated, witch-hunting imbeciles, and let's never choose our battles wisely. yeah, let's help fucking ban foie gras in florida! california has the perfect idea! ... un-fucking-believable.

Shellery Layne Marmor
Shellery Layne Marmor

it doesn't matter how an animal dies. we're just as much "pieces of shit" (no, we're not) for killing, as we are for killing for foie gras. how many dead animals that died in a "humane" way thought to themselves... "these humans are so great, they killed me so nicely." 0% [end rant.]

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