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After a quick search around the web and within eGullet, it appears that it may be possible that our children may not be able to enjoy the fabulous delicacy we take for granted today. I've found threads within eGullet discussing bans in California, New York, Chicago, and Philly (I'm sure I missed others.)

As we all know, Chicago was the first American city to institute a ban. California's ban goes into affect in 2012. The consensus in New York is that the current PETA approach of classifying the ducks used for foie gras production as "diseased animals," and therefore illegal to produce and consume, has teeth. National grocery giant Whole Foods refuses to do business with anyone that produces ducks for the creation of foie gras. Which means Sonoma Foie Gras has lost its duck supplier. With California and New York being the only areas in America which produce foie gras, is it conceivable that a ban on importing the product is next, and we could be left completely without the foie gras in the near future?

It should also be noted that certain juristictions in France have already banned the practice of "gavage," or forced feeding. The EU is looking to phase out the force feeding of geese over the next 15 years (as of 2004.) "Any producers not using more humane methods at the end of that time would face the prospect of being banned."

It seems that many chefs have already accepted the fact that foie is going the way of the dodo.

To quote Tony Bourdain, "it will likely disappear entirely from menus in my lifetime."

The common notion is that the PETAs were clever in picking on something that has a small number of supporters (most of whom will be rich, apathetic, and unable to garner public support.) We all know that factory farmed chickens, swine, and cattle are treated much worse than a foie gras duck in this country.

Is there anything that we can do? Apart from writing our representatives, do we have other options for turning the tide here? Would a public boycott of Whole Foods do anything? I've already stopped shopping there, (and stopped eating at restaurants that refuse to serve foie gras.) I know we are all busy people, but it seems that if we just sit back and let these PETA people tell us what we can and cannot eat, they won't just stop at Foie Gras!

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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I have also stopped shopping at Whole foods. I don't patronize retsaurants that advocate against foie gras, although I don't require it to be on the menu.

I think your concerns are legitimate.

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

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I have also stopped shopping at Whole foods. I don't patronize retsaurants that advocate against foie gras, although I don't require it to be on the menu.

I think your concerns are legitimate.

I should clarify about the restaurant issue. I am in the same boat as you. They don't have to have it on the menu, but if they advocate against it, they are off my list. I'm not that much of a freak! :biggrin:

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I have also stopped shopping at Whole foods. I don't patronize retsaurants that advocate against foie gras, although I don't require it to be on the menu.

I think your concerns are legitimate.

Ditto here.

"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

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Whole foods was on it's way off my shopping list a few months ago, but the fois and lobster announcements were really the last straw.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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I think the key point here is in hhlodesign's original post:

"Any producers not using more humane methods at the end of that time would face the prospect of being banned."

Nobody's telling anybody what they can and can't eat. They are saying that extremely inhumane production methods will not be tolerated. Find a humane way to produce foie gras and people will stop complaining. Until then, I think you're right, our children might not eat the delicacy you take for granted, and I think that is very much a step in the right direction.

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Until then, I think you're right, our children might not eat the delicacy you take for granted, and I think that is very much a step in the right direction.

Aaaaand, we're off. :wink:

I do not take foie gras for granted; as a matter of fact, I take nothing that I eat for granted. I do not agree that foie gras is inhumane to produce, and, therefore, I continue to eat it. On the other hand, I make every effort to avoid, say, factory-raised chicken. I do not prepare it in my own home, and I do my best to avoid it elsewhere.

I do not take the animals who have died for my meals for granted, and for you to assume the opposite is not really all that fair to me.

ETA: I forgot to say that everyone is entitled to their own opinions; I assume that you disagree with mine, and that you believe foie gras production is inhumane. That's your perogative. But please don't assume that I haven't thought this through.

I also believe that foie gras bans gain a lot of support (though not always their genesis) from people practicing reverse snobbery rather than people concerned about humane treatment. Therefore, I am certainly of the opinion that a great many people involved in the movement are, in fact, trying to tell me what I can and cannot eat for no good reason whatsoever.

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

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In my opinion PETA has only the best interests of PETA at heart.

I asked them for help in shutting down an ongoing auction of dogs, some of which were suspected to be dognapped pets, and I was told that, #1, it was too dangerous for a group of protestors because the people running the auction were "hicks that love guns" and "it won't make enough news for it to be worth our while."

When I noted that some of the dogs were auctioned off to people who supplied dogs to laboratories, they said "give us the name of a laboratory and we will work on them, that will make the news."

Also, as has been said before, the feeding of these fowl is not all that inhumane.

All migratory fowl will gorge in preparation for a long migration even when domesticated for hundreds of generations. Ducks and geese that have a heightened apitude for this have been bred over many, many generations to enhance this trait.

If you were to see the ducks running after the person with the feed bucket, you might understand this a little better. Animals are smart enough to stay away from people who abuse them.

Swans gorge also, we no longer consider them to be a menu item, however they can produce immense livers all by themselves when they gorge but don't migrate.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Maybe we can count on China to produce and export foie gras. They already force-feed ducks for Peking duck.

Mmmm, good point - is the proposed New York ban on the selling of foie gras, or just its production?

"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

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Nobody's telling anybody what they can and can't eat. They are saying that extremely inhumane production methods will not be tolerated.

Personally I think the way chickens and pigs are raised in a factory is extremely inhumane. I would be overjoyed if 20% of the attention given to the fois production and its "issues" were directed towards Purdue or Tyson where I think it would have a much bigger impact on people given the number of people that eat chickens versus fois.

I think it is a very slippery slope we are on the verge on -- where once people have the power to influence bans on one thing, where will it stop?

Edited by johnder (log)

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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I think it is a very slippery slope we are on the verge on -- where once people have the power to influence bans on one thing, where will it stop?

Perhaps instead of 'people' you mean 'PETA'. Because, regardless of whether you believe that production of abnormally large goose livers should be banned, we should all agree that it is a pretty great thing that we the PEOPLE have the power to elect lawmakers and then influence them to act on our behalf.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Nobody's telling anybody what they can and can't eat. They are saying that extremely inhumane production methods will not be tolerated.

Not to beat a dead horse, (I wonder if that's humane? :laugh: ) but this statement is disingenuous at best. If the stance is simply against "extremely inhumane production methods," they would seek to ban the previously mentioned factory farmed animals bred for food. Meat eaters alike have already spoken out against (and refuse to purchase) many of the methods the major corporations practice in producing our meat products. However, to propose a ban on those methods would open a huge can of worms related to socio-econnomic issues in this country. It would also be much more transparent that the agenda is, in fact, to tell others what they can and cannot eat. When the "others" are people who eat foie gras, as opposed to working class people eating Tyson Chicken, PETA knows they will have public support, or indifference.

Taken to its logical conclusion, dropping a lobster into boiling water, slicing the throat of a cow, cutting the head off a chicken, raising an animal to be consumed, or killing a wild animal in the woods can all be seen as inhumane. I'm guessing many PETAs see these acts as such. Would they propose to ban all these practices?

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we should all agree that it is a pretty great thing that we the PEOPLE have the power to elect lawmakers and then influence them to act on our behalf.

Herein lies the problem. Foie gras lovers will always be a minority. Does this mean we have less rights as citizens to eat what we choose? We are so insignificant in number that we are a non-issue to our elected officials. They listen to the people who will vote for them and the lobbies. Who wants to start a citizens for foie gras lobby!

I am proud to live in a country where people can hold views different from the majority without fear of persecution. But since Neo-Nazis (or athiests, or Buddists, or vegans, or fill in the under-represented minority) hold such an insignificant number of followers, can the people who hold differing beliefs propose legislation to eliminate them from existence? Not in America!

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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Nobody's telling anybody what they can and can't eat. They are saying that extremely inhumane production methods will not be tolerated.

Personally I think the way chickens and pigs are raised in a factory is extremely inhumane. I would be overjoyed if 20% of the attention given to the fois production and its "issues" were directed towards Purdue or Tyson where I think it would have a much bigger impact on people given the number of people that eat chickens versus fois.

Foie gras is a much easier target than Tyson and Purdue, although I do agree with you on both counts. It is completely and utterly hypocritical to ban foie gras for cruelty and not try to get Tyson Chicken out of operation. The whole thing is ridiculous.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Taken to its logical conclusion, dropping a lobster into boiling water, slicing the throat of a cow, cutting the head off a chicken, raising an animal to be consumed, or killing a wild animal in the woods can all be seen as inhumane. I'm guessing many PETAs see these acts as such. Would they propose to ban all these practices?

I once heard an interview with PETA's head - Ingrid Newkirk - and she basically stated that's it's also inhumane to step on insects, kill spiders, and even swat mosquitos.

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Nobody's telling anybody what they can and can't eat. They are saying that extremely inhumane production methods will not be tolerated.

Personally I think the way chickens and pigs are raised in a factory is extremely inhumane. I would be overjoyed if 20% of the attention given to the fois production and its "issues" were directed towards Purdue or Tyson where I think it would have a much bigger impact on people given the number of people that eat chickens versus fois.

I think it is a very slippery slope we are on the verge on -- where once people have the power to influence bans on one thing, where will it stop?

I just can't agree with this statement enough. I have had friends who worked in chicken farms and holy hell if PETA published pictures of what his job was it would be amazing. My inlaws also lived in Arkansas for a while and to see those trucks of chickens - many dead and others living on them- heading down the interstate, UGH 'nugh said.

Not only do fowl gorge themselves before migratory flights but their gullets are hard and scaley making, this is why they don't fear the feeding tube but run toward it.

I eat organic farm raised animals 89% of the time because I care, I eat foie gras and will be quite sad the day it is banned- not because of all the people who will miss out on this beautiful ingrediant but because more people see it as a bigger issue than the factory pig, beef and chicken farms.

:sad:

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Personally I think the way chickens and pigs are raised in a factory is extremely inhumane. I would be overjoyed if 20% of the attention given to the fois production and its "issues" were directed towards Purdue or Tyson where I think it would have a much bigger impact on people given the number of people that eat chickens versus fois.

ITA, and the quality of this meat is disgusting as well.

I wish attention was given to these.

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i'm not really a political person but what would carry more weight? PETA, or a all the foie gras eating people put together? i'm sure PETA knows what they're talking about but i'm sure that people on the other side can make a good argument in favor of foie gras.

bork bork bork

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China's already a big producer.

Really? Are they exporting? I've never seen any Chinese foie gras at retail. Maybe they're more readily available through wholesale channels. How is the quality?

Animal cruelty laws are way behind in China. At least we can be sure they won't be banning foie gras any time soon -- unless PETA pushes through an international treaty! That would be scary.

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Chinese produced foie is just fine.

It's not as silky as 'the real thing', or so my memory tells me, but I haven't eaten foie for a while. Might pop into the local for a slab tonight.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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China's already a big producer.

Really? Are they exporting? I've never seen any Chinese foie gras at retail. Maybe they're more readily available through wholesale channels. How is the quality?

Animal cruelty laws are way behind in China. At least we can be sure they won't be banning foie gras any time soon -- unless PETA pushes through an international treaty! That would be scary.

Well, to put it into perspective, foie gras is a FRENCH speciality, and I'm not aware of any serious attempts to ban it in France. The movement to ban it in various parts of the States is, globally speaking, an irrelevance, and can just be added to the long list of British and American food neuroses that other countries would do very well to avoid.

I don't know much about the Chinese foie gras, though I've heard it's of inferior quality at present. Not having had the best of the best French, I couldn't say what that means. It might be perfectly acceptable as a cheaper alternative. Do they export it? I would imagine that is the reason they began producing it in the first place. The quality may well improve, as has happened with other Chinese products, and even if it doesn't, not everyone is going to insist on the finest hand-reared produce. Any more than they insist on the finest cheese, fish, beef, or 18 year old single malt whisky, so I guess there will always be a market for it.

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I do not take the animals who have died for my meals for granted, and for you to assume the opposite is not really all that fair to me.

ETA: I forgot to say that everyone is entitled to their own opinions; I assume that you disagree with mine, and that you believe foie gras production is inhumane.  That's your perogative.  But please don't assume that I haven't thought this through.

Hi Megan. I'm not assuming anything about you (I don't even know you!). I was replying directly to the original poster (who I do happen to know), and who clearly stated that he takes foie gras for granted.

After a quick search around the web and within eGullet, it appears that it may be possible that our children may not be able to enjoy the fabulous delicacy we take for granted today.

Actually, he was the one that assumed you take it for granted (by using 'we' instead of 'I'), so you should probably take your issue up with him.

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I just can't agree with this statement enough. I have had friends who worked in chicken farms and holy hell if PETA published pictures of what his job was it would be amazing.

As long as we're talking about assumptions, it seems like there are a lot of assumptions about what PETA is and isn't doing that are fairly incorrect. A quick look at their FAQ might solve this.

PETA has published pictures of what happens in chicken farms. Check'm out here: http://www.torturedbytyson.com/ (though not before a meal!).

And they certainly are targeting Tyson and other factory farmers to put pressure on them to use more humane production methods. Here's a press release they put out last week about it:

PETA BECOMES CKE SHAREHOLDER, SPEAKS AT ANNUAL MEETING IN ST. LOUIS TO CALL FOR MORE HUMANE CHICKEN SLAUGHTER

For Immediate Release:

June 26, 2006

Contact:

Matt Prescott 757-622-7382

St. Louis - At CKE’s annual meeting in St. Louis tomorrow, PETA—which recently purchased 220 shares of stock in Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE—will read a statement calling on the fast-food giant to move toward the humane poultry-slaughter method of "controlled-atmosphere killing" (CAK), which puts birds "to sleep" quickly and painlessly. In its statement, PETA points out that McDonald’s studied CAK and concluded that in addition to being the most humane form of poultry slaughter, it also results in economic benefits. CKE, which operates the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurant chains, has made no movement on animal welfare.

As part of its campaign to move the industry toward implementing CAK, PETA has become a shareholder in 24 companies, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Denny’s, and Tyson Foods.

When: Wednesday, June 27, 10 a.m.

Where: Chase Park Plaza, 212 N. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis

PETA’s statement for CKE’s annual meeting is available by request.

For more information, please visit PETA’s Web site PETA.org.

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