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Cast Your Vote: Is Foie Gras Animal Abuse?

Michy's waffles topped with seared foie gras.
Michy's waffles topped with seared foie gras.
Lesley Elliott

California lawmakers have announced they plan to enforce a 2004 law that bans the production and sale of foie gras. Animal rights activists petitioned for the duck relief, citing it as "an inhumane practice that should be relegated to the history books."

Now, you might or might not know that force-feeding duckies and geese via a plastic tube yields a particularly large and fatty liver. Do we consider this foie gras faux pas an example of human nature in its finest hour? Perhaps not. Apparently, the companies behind the foie gras say the birds usually gorge before migrating anyway, so this process simply mimics what happens in the wild.


The real problem is that foie gras is just so damn delicious. I mean, seriously, if you were forced to choose between a life without foie and, say, moving the hell out of California -- what would you do? And as a chef, do you want the government telling you what you can and cannot prepare in the kitchen? Restaurants that continue to serve foie gras will be subject to a $1,000 fine per day. Does this violate our eating rights?

It must be said, however, that this law was postponed for eight years so that producers could have time to alter their methods for fattening

up those livers. In Spain, a company named La Patería de Sousa is dedicated to the ethical farming of foie gras. They let

those little birds roam free, and you know what? They eat a lot on their

own and get pretty chubby without a syringe. This statute does not ban

duck liver entirely, just the force-feeding procedure.

Chicago

tried to ban foie gras in 2006, but outraged chefs got the measure overturned two years later. Bloomberg states Hudson Valley Foie Gras

has sales of $15 million and turns out 250,000 ducks each year, and that

a spokesperson said they are thinking of challenging the

constitutionality of the law. "To have an

entity regulated at the federal level restricted at the state level creates an unfair trade practice."

Thus, Short Order

gourmands, we pose the following question: To foie or not to foie?

It's

cruel, no doubt, but it tastes, really, really good. Would you vote for or against to protect the duck movement in Miami? Have we evolved

past our own culinary desires? Or do we tell those ducks to shut up and

suck it in?

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.


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