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FOIE GRAS TO BE ILLEGAL IN SONOMA?


bourdain
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If the foie gras producers were serious about trying to bring some objective evidence of the lack of cruelty in the process then they should invest in some research into stress levels etc. My guess would be that the birds were 'happy', but had some liver disfuction. In that case the FG producers should start making comparisons between their birds and factory farmed chickens for instance.

But, they can't do that can they?

That actually seems like a pretty good idea. Why do you think they can't do that?

I suspect that even such a small scale and specialised as FG producers can't afford to piss off the bigger players. Otherwise why not go for that angle?

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Let's make sure to stay on topic here and not get sidetracked into discussions of slavery, etc.

As for Adam's comment that "some people would argue the production of foie gras has gone that one step to far"... I think what he was saying is that some people think the methods inherrent in the production of foie gras, as well as the results obtained, go too far in "modifying" animals and exploiting natural tendencies in animals for our own purposes -- not that they have gone too far compared to what they have been historically. In context, this statement immediately followed Adam's example of breaking the legs of squab to make them more tender, which I think most of would agree "goes too far." Some people think that making foie gras "goes too far" in a similar way.

Very good - and agreed.

I misunderstood and took the train of thought in a different direction.

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I was commenting about your quote of thinking that FG production has gone too far and I was only making the measured point that it really hasn't changed. If something hasn't changed, how could it have gone to a degree further than whence it began?

I am unaware of Roman production but will look into it.

Yes, the slavery thing was a diversion. :wink:

"Going to far" in terms of 'explotation of a natural process', in reference to Sam's comments. But in reference to your comments here, the Egyptian's force feeding wild caught birds (and some domestic) is a long way removed from "Modern" FG production. You would have noted that the Egyptian images of the birds being fed depict birds that look significantly different to the modern Toulouse breed (whats that Alsace goose breed? Ebdem? Strasbough?).

Some people, again not me, would find that objectional.

The point being, what are the US producers going to do about their image?

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Exactly my point. What with Mr. Hefner doing Carl's Jr. burger commercials at the moment and all, I'm thinking maybe, in Today's World, where it is increasingly difficult to maintain one's position on the Outlaw Wedge, he's adding another putatively edgy activity.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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The point being, what are the US producers going to do about their image?

Perhaps I am missing out on something, but I don't gather than their image is all that bad. Aren't the foie protest things mostly from the West Coast? I also believe someone observed upthread that many, if not most foie protesters really pursued an anti-meat-eating agenda when it really came down to it. As for the general public, I think that most of whatever negative perception does exist, exists due to ignorance concerning the "force feeding" process.

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Aren't the foie protest things mostly from the West Coast?

I think not - I believe Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York and D'Artagnan in New Jersey out produce anybody here on the West Coast.

Right. But I have never read of activists breaking into Hudson Valley Foie Gras and "freeing" the ducks. And no NYC, or any East Coast chefs of which I am aware have been stalked, threatened or pressured to get them to stop serving foie and related duck products.

My comment is mostly that the protestors and protesting organizations tend to be based and/or founded on the West Coast, and most of the anti-foie activity seems to happen out there.

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Has there been a free-the-foie incident other than the recent events in Northern California? Can we count the Smithsonian event cancellation?

Also, writing from Southern California, I would like to point out that PETA is based in Norfolk, VA.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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My comment is mostly that the protestors and protesting organizations tend to be based and/or founded on the West Coast, and most of the anti-foie activity seems to happen out there.

Silly Californians, eh? (I know, I one of 'em and sometimes, it drives me nuts what happens in this state!)

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  • 1 month later...

i think that anyone who thinks that foie gras is inhumane should spend some time with foie gras goose farmers in france. i've never seen such brilliant animal husbandry, and as far as cruelty, i mean to me--we're eating these animals. so we have to accept that right there its a hard thing if you love animals as i do.

anyhow, the goose farms i have visited (in southwest france) had such a free-range lifestyle in idylic setting, with the force-feeding or heavy-eating phase only about the last 2 weeks of their lives. before that, its gorgeous sun-dappled fields, succulent green grass, happy farm stuff. and even during the stuffing phase, the farmer massaged their tummies so lovingly that i wanted to line up with the geese and say: me next!

geese naturally stuff themselves before a long flight. their livers get fat. and not diseased as is often portrayed by media. no, if they stop eating like this, their livers go back to normal again. foie gras was originally developed by the ancient eygptians who noticed that when geese stuffed themselves like this, boy, did their livers taste good!

i suggest an excellent book about foie gras, writting by michael ginor, published by wiley books.

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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ps: i've visited the sonoma foie gras people too and although their birds were living at a different location from their office, was totally well impressed with them, with their level of training and devotion and skills. and of course: I love their livers!

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think we can all agree the production of Foie gras is not the most humane. But it tastes good. So let's just all come to accept we are willing to sacrifice the feelings of a dim-witted bird, in order to enjoy one of the earths most pleasureable foods.

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Welcome to eGullet, torchef.

You think the production of Foie gras is not the most humane? Compared to what? I'll tell you something... if I had to choose between living a life as a Tyson chicken or as a Hudson Valley Farms duck, I'd choose to be the duck in a second. I think that the treatment of ducks raised for foie gras is probably 1000 times better than the treatment of most animals raised for food.

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why don't pro-foie gras people just come out and acknowledge that the process of creating foie gras may well be incredibly cruel but they'd like to be able to eat it anyway? just because one likes foie gras doesn't mean it has to be morally right, does it? or do we just want to be able to eat our super-fatted goose/duck liver with a clear conscience?

the argument that people should go after battery chickens, boxed veal etc. instead is not a very far-sighted one. what would you say to someone who is against all those things?

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I think incredibly cruel is a relative term.

Is the forcefeeding of ducks and geese cruel? Probably. But as has been indicated within this and other threads, the raising of livestock period for human consumption is inherently cruel.

It is what it is. I am simply not going to anthropomorphize that which I eat.

Do they suffer? Yeah, probably. Are people suffering? Sure, there is torture and pain and anguish all over the world in various forms. Can we stop all the pain and suffering of all living, breathing creatures? No.

I pick my battles and my causes. I like foie gras. I like steaks and chicken and oysters and asparagus. I would rather help the people in Rwanda than duck in Sonoma.

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so, yes, you'd like to eat your foie gras without feeling too bad?

the "there's always something worse" argument isn't a very strong one either.

on the one extreme of such arguments are those who find the killing of animals for food (regardless of cruelty in raising/slaughter or not) to be abhorrent and they eschew meat. on the other extreme are people who acknowledge that animals are exploited but hey, they taste so good. these two sets of people rarely find common ground but what they do have in common is that they are both honest. in between are the rest of us on egullet. we are what are known as hypocrites.

edited to fix grammar

Edited by mongo_jones (log)
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so, yes, you'd like to eat your foie gras without feeling too bad?

the "there's always something worse" argument isn't a very strong one either.

on the one extreme of such arguments are those who find the killing of animals for food (regardless of cruelty in raising/slaughter or not) to be abhorrent and they eschew meat. on the other extreme are people who acknowledge that animals are exploited but hey, they taste so good. these two sets of people rarely find common ground but what they do have in common is that they are both honest. in between are the rest of us on egullet. we are what are known as hypocrites.

edited to fix grammar

Actually, I don't feel bad when I eat foie gras - although perhaps you believe I should feel badly. I feel quite good - especially when I have a lovely glass of Sauterne to accompany said dish.

And the "there's always something worse" argument works for me just fine, thank you. I don't need any other arguments.

Lastly, I don't think that polarizing the two stances and putting everyone in the middle makes them hypocrites. I'm sorry that you do.

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Here's a more dispassionate evaluation from Europe of the foie gras production process and its effect on the fowl:

Welfare Aspects of the Production of Foie Gras in Ducks and Geese

For anybody who's not aware of it, the EU has given France and Hungary (the two largest producers) a 15-year deadline to adopt alternative methods of foie gras production. Israel, the world's third largest producer, recently banned foie gras production effective in 2005. The EU and Israel have seen fit to make the protection of farm animals part of a political agenda, and it's not surprising that it seems to be happening here in the US as well.

Enjoy the foie gras while you can. The handwriting is on the wall.

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  • 2 months later...

I don't generally side with the animal rights people, carnivore that I am. But what's happening to those ducks and geese seems to fall just about where I'd draw the line.

However, in the interest of harmony, I've come up with a compromise solution: Make those birds take 3 meals a day at McDonalds for a month. That should achieve comparable results in a more humane way.

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It was my understanding when I was young that my step-grampa would fatten up his geese with buttered homemade noodles. They were not forced to eat, but we only did 4 a year, I recall. Don't know what that means, but I do know we didn't force a damn thing down them meanass honkers necks, and their liver was eaten as a country pate.

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Ironically, if the law passes, I will still be able to buy a dead goose and eat it. Hell, I can even buy my own goose, kill it and eat it. But God forbid I OVERfeed it for a little while.

Sadly, we will have to bootleg the profound delicacy from a neighboring state. At least for a little while.

(Here's hoping Sonoma Foie Gras will move their operation to Nevada)

Seriously, I find it interesting that I have not seen any sort of campaign to fight the bill other than what the poor Sonoma Foie Gras people can muster. Even on this site, there seems to be very little interest in what boils down to the government telling us what we can eat. I guess the rights of livestock is more important????? :wacko:

I plan to buy and eat many more dead animals. :raz:

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Ironically, if the law passes, I will still be able to buy a dead goose and eat it.

Well, at least you'd be eating a whole goose, not a harvested body part. And do you suppose those liverless ducks and geese are schmoozing at the water cooler, swapping war stories about their "operations"?

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