• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
yellow truffle

Chicago is the first city to ban foie gras

148 posts in this topic

I have never heard reasonable adults claim that they need government  protection from themselves in support of a ban. (prohibition came close with "demon alcohol.") It is always some weaker group that needs protecting.

Also--addiction is oft cited--as the reason people just can't help themselves--"it's not my fault--the devil made me do it..."

I agree.. Same thing with smoking bans..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally found a copy of the actual Ordinance here .

It is pretty amazing that they actually cite a Zogby poll WITHIN an ordinance... politicians are often accused of listening to polls, but this is a new level...

A few other interesting citations in the "Whereas" sections...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
woudln't the solution be to shut down individual suppliers and farms hwo mistreat the animals?

Fois gras is created by force feeding the fowl.

The debate is between those who say that the force feeding is not harmful to the birds and those who do.

Those who say the feeding is not harmful--or painful cite the fact that the geese or ducks actually come running to the feeder--if there was discomfort or pain involved the geese would run away.

I have seen no evidence to support the other side.

If you go to http://www.stopforcefeeding.com and click on "What is Foie Gras," then "Debunking the Myths," they present evidence. However, the reputation of these groups for their extreme methods of persuasion leaves a lot of room for skepticism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't support smoking bans, but they're different. Their purpose is to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. Not to protect those who choose to smoke themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In other words, while I don't support smoking bans, I can see an arguable basis for them.

This foie gras ban is just retarded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NYT covers another angle of the foie gras fight this week.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/03/dining/0...=rssnyt&emc=rss

So here's the gist of it. Grimaud Farms processes foie gras for Sonoma Foie Gras. Grimaud Farms does business with Whole Foods. Whole Foods told Grimaud Farms to stop processing foie gras "or else." SFG is suing Whole Foods.

Includes comments from PETA, Thomas Keller, and Charlie Trotter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Until now, producers, wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs have not been organized, and they have been ineffective in countering the messages of their opponents, which include videos of the force-feeding of the birds, advertisements that include Pope Benedict XVI's position on force-feeding, and celebrities speaking out against the process.

But on Monday, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Sonoma Foie Gras, Rougie (Canada) and D'Artagnan, one of the largest purveyors of American foie gras, formed the North American Foie Gras Producers Association. One of its first moves was to hire a public advocacy and lobbying group, Ag Associates, to examine the constitutionality of the laws banning foie gras production or sale.

I feel so strongly about this I would absolutely stop shopping at whole foods or patronise the movies of any hollywood celebrity who tries to tell us what to eat.

Its a shame I dont have the time or technical knowledge.........

I wish some foodie computer whiz would start a website /blog of people, organizations and celebrities against foie gras so I can know who to boycott.

and the Pope ??????

Oh it's ok to sweep the cases of thousands of sexually molested children by priests under the rug

BUT......

We gotta save those ducks...! :shock:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are so many aspects to this quandary, that I hardly know where to start. I used to work for the largest distributor of foie gras in the country, and have dealt with my own hesitations and hard questions. Please know that I am politically neutral on this whole subject.

One argument (highly abbreviated) goes:

Ducks eat whole fish including the sharp fins because they have an esophagus that is accomodating -- therefore, we are anthropomorphizing by saying that this is cruel.

Ducks flock to their feeders for their gavage, as written in the excellent chapter on foie gras in the History of Food by Toussaint-Samat.

Birds, since the beginning of time, have naturally and instinctively eaten to the point of a grossly enlarged liver, in order to store up on fuel for long migrations.

Some parts of the counter-argument:

The birds suffer. Some have livers that explode. Some choke on their own vomit. Who needs to eat this anyway? Is our own human pleasure our only guiding principal here? And of course, this opens up all those messy conversations about factory farming, animal cruelty, conspicuous consumption, etc.

My foremost dilemna here is not necessarily for the ducks, but for the farm workers. As reported a couple of years ago in the NY Times, the workers must go for thirty days working from early morning until late at night, without a day off, the reason being that each duck is assigned to a specific feeder, and comes to accept food only from that particular person. As they are fed three times per day at exact eight hour intervals, and for 30 days, the workers are stuck being there for each session.

This also implies that ducks are fairly intelligent -- another can of worms.

I visited a foie gras farm, and was truly disgusted by the smell, feces and overcrowding, but this was not different or worse than the chicken (layers and meat), pig, steer and dairy farms that I have visited, even those that proclaim "all natural" and "free range." I can go insane dwelling on what to eat, what not to eat.

As for Whole Foods, well, that is another topic that has been discussed at length on the board here. All I have to say is that they are, of course, going to jump on any controversal wagon that is highly visible in the media. My feelings about them are also mixed: I find their mission is often hypocritical, but that they do many things very well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[Where's Ling when you need her? Any other Montreal residents out there? I would love to know!

Born and bred Montrealer here....I've had foie in a few Montreal restaurants...Toque was the most interesting, with beets, black trumpets, green beans and truffle.


I'd rather live in a world without truffles than in a world without onions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would not object if reasonable guidelines were promulgated for the production of foie gras as they should be for other forms of animal husbandry. I prefer to buy from farms that treat their livestock well. While there may be some producers of foie gras who abuse their birds, that does not mean that all do or that the product cannot be produced in a reasonable fashion. What is abhorrent to me is that all producers are linked together for expediency. Should all pig farmers or chicken farmers be linked together too? I think not.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have seen (in persona dn in video) the processes used to force feed the animals. i will not post them, because i'd be yelled at by everyoen who likes to eat duck liver, but the methods i have seen in more than several "farm" do not involved "giving" the food at all. the processes iunvolve dinserting the food into the animal with certian machines, and the machines and handling often break various parts of the animal's boyd. if you woul like to see the video footage of this (form several farms) pm me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would appear that the animal rights folks are shooting themselves in both feet here. Putting the small operators out of business plays right into the agri-combines hands. When the only folks they have left to attack are the Monsantos and Con Agras they will have zero power to stop cruelty and ALL animals will be mistreated. To anyone who doesn't like it, lumping privileges will be granted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just read the NYT article.

First sentence:

Fresh from a victory in Chicago, where the City Council voted last week to ban the sale of foie gras, animal rights activists have set their sights on Philadelphia, where they are collecting signatures on a petition to ban the delicacy there.

I sense a migraine coming on.

Could we please pay some attention to (in no particular order) world hunger, homelessness, lack of access to clean water for billions of people, pollution, education, genocide, cancer, AIDS, etc., first? Argh.


Edited by Diann (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and exactly what are you doing about the aforementioned issues?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and exactly what are you doing about the aforementioned issues?

I volunteer at food banks and soup kitchens, work on affordable housing finance, and work with CDCs. I'm not trying to be holier than thou, I just think there are larger issues than foie gras to worry about, and wish that all this time and effort that's going into this particular issue could be diverted into another cause -- something that affects more lives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry, I think we can put the blame squarely on Mr. Trotter. Chucky is actually cited in the ordinance--twice--first for pointing out the "evils" of foie gras and second as Chicago's most eminent chef :hmmm: !

Foie Gras Ordinance

If, after clicking on the link provided, you delete everything from pdf/ to the end of the URL, you can go to their website and see the arguments against foie gras.

If the evidence they give is true, I don't see any way we can let this practice continue without modification. Unfortunately, the legacy of the "eco" and "animal rights" terrorists and their "by any means necessary including deception" approach casts automatic doubt on anyone promoting legitimate animal cruelty awareness.

That being said, if it turns out after investigation that the allegations are true, the argument that it has been done since antiquity and is "culturally indicated" does not hold up any more than it does for allowing slavery.

The government representatives of those who produce foie would do well to provide help to make the process less unsavory if it is found to be objectionable. We then debate the most reasonable approach, taking care to maximize the opportunity for those whose livelihoods depend on this industry.

There are many ways to provide legitimate pleasure, and these workers can provide the infrastructure for a new or modified industry.

I read recently that Hawaii had banned dog meat, and it was another debate of ignorance similar to Chicago. People were scared that restaurants would snatch neighbors' pets. Yet dog meat comes from a certain breed of dog that cannot be used as a pet. It's as ridiculous as banning fish in restaurants because they might go steal people's goldfish.


<a href='http://www.zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal' target='_blank'>ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal</a> - The longest running Korean food blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i find the entire discussion hypocritical but necessary to some degree...sure, treat animals better. ultimately all of these animals we're talking about are going to end up dead, one way or another, and on our dinner plate. they are not living out their natural life expectancy and unless we all become vegetarians...or even vegans some form of animal cruelty will exist.

i have to agree with pitter here as he stated that going to just about any kind of farm, regardless of how they claim to treat their animals (on the label stuck to the plastic wrap), most americans would be disgusted. so where does it stop?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just read the NYT article.

First sentence:

Fresh from a victory in Chicago, where the City Council voted last week to ban the sale of foie gras, animal rights activists have set their sights on Philadelphia, where they are collecting signatures on a petition to ban the delicacy there.

I sense a migraine coming on.

Could we please pay some attention to (in no particular order) world hunger, homelessness, lack of access to clean water for billions of people, pollution, education, genocide, cancer, AIDS, etc., first? Argh.

Or, for that matter, the wage and business privilege taxes?

It's not like anyone's lacking for legislation to champion at Broad and Market.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I was an undergraduate at Harvard, there was a brief news item in The Harvard Independent (for which I wrote for a couple of years) on the fact that the Faculty Club still had horse steak on its menu.  As I recall, it had been added during World War II in response to rationing of meat, and remained on the menu from that point on.

Wow - that's fascinating! If you don't mind revealing your age, how long ago was that? You're sure that "horse steak" isn't some name for something else? :unsure:

The only time I've had horse meat was in Italy.

u.e.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I was an undergraduate at Harvard, there was a brief news item in The Harvard Independent (for which I wrote for a couple of years) on the fact that the Faculty Club still had horse steak on its menu.  As I recall, it had been added during World War II in response to rationing of meat, and remained on the menu from that point on.

Wow - that's fascinating! If you don't mind revealing your age, how long ago was that?

That was in the late 1970s (I'm Class of 1980).

And it really was horsemeat! I had the opportunity to dine at the Faculty Club with a professor not long afterward and ordered some just to see. Can't say the taste was particularly memorable; however, it most emphatically did not "taste like chicken" -- or like beef (as bison does), for that matter.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you go to http://www.stopforcefeeding.com and click on "What is Foie Gras," then "Debunking the Myths," they present evidence. However, the reputation of these groups for their extreme methods of persuasion leaves a lot of room for skepticism.

Indeed it does, but what I found at that link wasn't even evidence, it was opinion and propaganda. However you describe a duck's esophagus, it is not physically much like that of a human.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This foie gras ban is just retarded.

I wonder if the fact that it's French has anything to do with the ease with which it was banned. After all, you know what *those* people like to do!

My son just ate at Cyrus Restaurant last night and reports that he thoroughly enjoyed the "ménage à fois". (Yes, three different treatments of the item in question.) Is this X-rated aspect of some people's perception of the French part of the "retarded" reaction we're seeing?

Lonnie


"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chef thumbs nose at ban: 10 courses of foie gras :huh:

Chicago Suntimes ...

Graham Elliot Bowles, chef at Avenues in the Peninsula Hotel, is going full-tilt with the French delicacy by offering a foie gras tasting menu for $238. Bowles started thinking up the menu the day after the Chicago City Council voted to ban the sale of foie gras -- the fattened livers of geese or ducks -- in Chicago. He said it's his way of thumbing his nose at a measure he and other chefs consider ridiculous.The restaurant began offering the foie gras menu Friday night and will keep it until the ban goes into effect in August. ...
more on this story ... :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm hoping this post is a joke, I can hardly imagine what a particular food being French has anything to do with the animal activist backlash against foie gras. If anything, I think the French have an even greater love and respect for food than Americans.

This foie gras ban is just retarded.

I wonder if the fact that it's French has anything to do with the ease with which it was banned. After all, you know what *those* people like to do!

My son just ate at Cyrus Restaurant last night and reports that he thoroughly enjoyed the "ménage à fois". (Yes, three different treatments of the item in question.) Is this X-rated aspect of some people's perception of the French part of the "retarded" reaction we're seeing?

Lonnie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm hoping this post is a joke, I can hardly imagine what a particular food being French has anything to do with the animal activist backlash against foie gras. If anything, I think the French have an even greater love and respect for food than Americans.

Exactly...I think Lonnie's point was that some Americans have a tendency to demonize the French for this very reason, turning a love and appreciation for things culinary into decadence and gluttony on par with the late Roman Empire.

Ironic, really, considering we're the country with the weight problem.


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.