The tweet, plus a mouthwatering image of a seared lobe of foie gras in a port and balsamic gastrique, balanced atop a slice of brioche by Searsucker Del Mar Executive Chef JC Colón, went out a little after 5 p.m. Wednesday. By 5:30 p.m. waitstaff had already sold their first legal appetizer portion of foie since 2012, when California’s ban on the fatty goose liver went into effect.
“Let’s just say we know a guy,” said Colón.
The ban, first signed into law in 2004 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, prohibited both the production of foie gras – which uses a technique known as gavage, in which ducks or geese are force-fed through a tube – and the sale of the delicacy in California.
The fight has been raging since, pitting animal advocacy groups against chefs, farmers and foodies. (If you’d like a detailed look at the process and controversy around it, this 2009 Village Voice story by Sarah DiGregorio is especially good.)
We Stand Up For You. Will You Stand Up For Us?
City people often don’t know what is required to deal with animals.My family and I took the trouble to go to a fois gras farm in France to judge for ourselves the gavage (force-feeding) of the ducks to make fois gras. As someone who grew up with animals in a rural area, I must tell you that the gavage is nothing to the ducks. They spend the day grazing on green grass and then are herded into a barn for the once-a-day gavage. It takes maybe 15 seconds (and clearly causes no pain—the farmer really wants to keep the ducks happy), after which the duck simply shakes his head and walks out. Animals object to being forced to do all kinds of things. Beef cattle don’t want to be herded into a corral. I raised sheep for a 4-H project, and I can assure you that the sheep don’t like to be sheared.So will you foreswear all wool products?
Clare, I'm confused by the quote from the Cowboy Star chef de cuisine. Although I can't afford their prices, I've seen the menu and it's heavy with meat, mostly beef. Just what is a "humane" product, one where the animal is killed quickly? Drugged to minimize the pain?
So foie gras can be had without force feeding? According to the story here the force feeding isn't a necessary step, just a more efficient method for the farmers. So maybe we can still have the foie gras, just from a more humane farm. After all, we are still eating duck. All other parts of the duck are on the menu, so why waste the liver? It's up to consumers to demand what we want. Then the farms will produce accordingly...capitalism at work.
Clare, I see this morning your story was picked up and mentioned...........
Let’s hear it for foie gras, and for oysters as well. I don’t know if the oyster feels pain when I shuck it, but I do. My hands get all cut up. If the damn things weren’t so delicious and good for me (The world’s most perfect food, actually), I wouldn’t eat them.
My solution to this would be stuff a feeding tube down the throat of anyone who wants to eat this stuff and leave it there for days so they could experience how it feels. I had a co-worker tell me that duck's have really small brains so they don't suffer. This co-worker does not have any pets. All animals feel pain and anxiety just like we do, oh, that's right, we are animals too. I'm not against consuming meat products but it is indefensible to support eating meat products that result from inhumane treatment of animals. We are cruel enough to other human beings but at least they have some ability to defend themselves. Animals are at our mercy and this is what we do to them? Disgusting.
@Geoff Page You are correct sir. It's not a question of how much they can think about, but rather how much they suffer. Even something as nice sounding as "free range" hens isn't so nice. The free range is 3 square feet (you can imagine what the confined range chickens are dealing with. Factory farming of animals is horrible, from an environmental stance, a moral stance, and an ethical stance.
My understanding is that some Iowa egg producers are adapting their operations to comply with the California standards.
And then this......