FoieGrasWorker20120501

Foie gras is at the center of debate in the California culinary world. More than 100 chefs are working to repeal a new law that would ban the force-feeding of ducks and sale of foie gras in the state starting on July 1. The chefs say foie gras can be produced humanely. But animal welfare advocates say the production of foie gras is cruel, and that any way you slice it the animals will suffer.

Guests:
Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States
Mourad Lahlou, owner and chef of Aziza Restaurant and part of the coalition of chefs fighting the foie gras ban
John Burton, California Democratic Party chair and former California Senate president pro tem
Rob Black, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which is spearheading the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (CHEFS)

  • OldVet

    My vote is that foie gras ought to be legal.   What better metaphor have we for the ‘free’ commercial press?   

  • Florin

    The question is not whether, but how. If it can be done humanely then yes, if it’s factory farming then no.

    One Spaniard did it humanely:
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/452/poultry-slam-2011

    • EponymousIme

      Attaching the word/concept “humanely” toman act that is inherently wrong does not make it okay.  If that were so, then we’d be talking about humane slave labor, humane use of child soliders in civil wars in Africa, humane pimps, etc. etc.  If someone raises pit bulls for commercial dog fighting, but treats the dogs “humanely,” does that make it okay?

      • Florin

         Sorry I meant to say induckane….

        • OldVet

          Did you hear about the drunken escargot that walked into the duck?      It was an inducktee

      • Yvonne

        only real humans are going to hear that question: Those whose hearts are like beasts will continue to eat their own and call it ok: I just wish the meat eaters had the audacity to go out and get it for themselves, hunt and kill instead of making the whole world guilty with them by keeping these slaughterhouses as a way for EVERYONE to eat; most people don’t even know what goes on but I PRAY and work to make it known; that is my debt to the animals I consumed in ignorance because i thought somehow people cared about living things: Like I said, ignorant I was for sure:

  • Lesley

    the question is whether foie gras can be produced without force-feeding (which is what CA bans). the question isn’t about “humane” standards.

  • I’ve never heard a vegetarian or vegan discuss the number of field mice and other small animals killed by combines and other harvesting methods every year. How many mice does it take to add up to a goose or a cow anyway?

    I’m a grateful carnivore who appreciates foie gras as a delicacy as often as I can.

    • EponymousIme

      Hunh?  What a ridiculous comparison:  regrettable, but unintentional, loss of unconfined animal life during the production of core crops needed for human nutrition, with intentional, controlled, repetitive torture inflicted upon caged animals whose livers are  expanded to 12 times their normal size to produce a “delicacy” that raises human cholesterol levels.  This isn’t even comparing apples and oranges; it’s more like comparing apples and hub caps.

      • So when the animal is small enough, the death doesn’t matter to you?

        Also, if you think wheat has anything healthy to offer in terms of human nutrition, your data is completely out of date.

        • well, eating meat causes far more deaths of field much and other rodents that you’re so concenred about, because of the tremendous amount of grain that is harvested to feed factory-farmed animals. Much less grain is required when it isn’t funneled through cows first and goes directly into the stomachs of vegans. So, anyone who is concerned about the welfare of field mice and other crop-dwelling creatures should eat a vegan diet to minimize those animals’ suffering.

      • BP

        LoL, GOD was Chef not a VEGAN

    • Markus

      This is the most ridiculous argument in defense of cruelty to animals I have ever read.

    • Dave Bernazani

      crayon, that’s about the most ridiculous self-justification of your cruel dietary choices I’ve ever had the privilege to scorn.  Dream on, buddy, but don’t expect us to join you as you sail off on the Good Ship Lollipop.

    • greg slater

      go back to your crayons….

  • Yvonne

    the question should be why would HUMANS (used loosely) need to consume so many things that CAUSE SO MUCH SUFFERING? The facts and truth are HIDDEN from them so the INDUSTRY can continue in their “cruelty” for the mighty buck/dollar: WAKE UP………the earth is ready to show mankind what she feels about the abuse she suffers at our hands:

    • bob

      life feeds on life, feeds on life, feeds on life.

      • EponymousIme

        Yes, there’s the natural order of things.  And then there’s the premeditated and perverted disruption of that order — which is where foie gras production falls.

        • Guest

          Premeditated and perverted disruption? So we should only eat animals that have been accidentally killed?

          • Dave Bernazani

            How about eating NO animals at all?  I don’t, and haven’t for almost 5 years, and have never felt better.  Why do you think veganism is growing at such a fast rate?  Check into it.

      • Ramona

         take misplaced tool lyrics and stuff a stick or a…. down your own throat.

  • SF

    What on earth is he talking about? Minimum wage? Michael — a little off message, don’t you think?

  • Son Dao

    There is no evidence that force feeding the animals cause any harm; no liver damage or otherwise. The same people who are against foie gras should reconsider the damage that is caused to animals by corn farming.

    • Ramona

       no evidence…what you chose not look nor find.  A pox upon your ignorance.

  • sarah

    I’m curious about the validity of Mr. Burtons’s claims that the CHEFS coalition are also anti-living wage, anti-health SF, etc. 

  • Ken Iisaka

    I realize this is a touchy subject, not just because of the treatment of the animals, but also we are diiscuss considered to be luxury food of the one percent.

    I wish this were a rational discussion. This issue is not about whether we should be eating meat, but the well being of the animals The opponents have failed to produce any verifiable data showing any harm.

    • OldVet

      You named it.  Touchy subject.   or non-touchy, reaching into the the chamber of shadows. ‘ I want my meat wrapped in cellophane please, no organs, or fur, or eyes’.  Industrial carnivores do not want to know where their meat comes from, and some in the vege-vegan world are consumed with hate.   All shadows in the balance of shadows.

      Gandhi said a society can be judged by how it treats its animals.  So our industrial pig farms etc do consign us to hell; war policy aside.  At the same time the Original Americans, the native Americans saw themselves as stewards of nature, not timid lumps living off petroleum based agriculture and righteously castigating carnivores.  They would kill the deer eyed seals that would wipe out salmon runs if left uncontrolled.

      I am reminded of the animal liberation vandals who released 30,000 minks from their cages in Oregon.   Kindness….. ?  Or do they just hate birds?   There is a viciousness that masquerades as innocence whose results are indeed wicked.  Our society is so clueless about predation …… and the way nature orders itself.   Yet we glibly predate upon our own kind.

      Foie gras?  It all depends on how it is done.   But what imagination conceives of the duck police in the midst of this depression?

      What a fascinating priority.   120 comments on duck stuffing.

  • SF

    John Burton, sit down. You can eat what you want, and so can others. If you think soy beans taste like sausage, good for you, but human beings are omnivores and get to decide for themselves what to eat. 
    Your irrelevant scattershot attacks on chefs as bad in every way make you look ridiculous.

  • Ramona

     Why do they find it necessary to defend such a ridiculous food?  They missed The Cook, The thief, The wife and her lover Foie Gras scene huh? “Physiology of birds” Who cares if there is disease in the duck liver, as if any of this guys arguments are worth a damn….

    • Ramona

       Call the CHEFS themselves…..

      Chris Cosentino and Mark Pastore are fanatical promoters of foie gras
      and routinely lie about how it is produced. Please contact them at
      Incanto Restaurant, 1550 Church St., San Francisco, CA 94131 /
      415-641-4500 / reserve@incanto.biz and let them know the public does not support animal cruelty!

      http://www.stopforcefeeding.com/?q=node/126

      • Matt

        The only lies here are about where and how you came across the photos and video on that website.

      • Matt

        Thanks, Ramona. I just called and booked a reservation. Vive la foie gras!

  • JR

    While I typically make the personal decision to not consume foie gras, Sen Burton did a tremendous disservice to his cause by creating a “good” and “evil” comparison.  That somehow anyone fighting to preserve the ability to eat foie gras is motivated entirely by greed and inherently evil is a dicotomy typically found on Fox News.   And then to throw in “it’s bad for you anyway”–seriously?  Sen Burton definitely helped push me to the side of the Chefs.

  • Florin

    If SF is going to be a destination for the eating of abused animals, what’s to keep SF from becoming a destination for dog fighting, cock fighting, or worse practices like you see in Bangkok?

  • Guest

    This is so off message for you M.K. This guy is sick as is this topic of abusing animals. May those humans CHOKE.

  • Mitko

    what about banning inhumaine and unnatural feeding of livestock, so it gains weight for a short period of time?

    • Xshane

      But raising of any livestock means it’s unnatural, you gave them feeds in quantities that they would never get in the wild, and they gain weight quickly to provide meat for us.  As for inhumane, sounds like you are anthropomorphizing the duck

  • dw

     I find it curious that so many people are so sure about the suffering that foie gras causes, which builds on an existing pattern of goose behavior to store fat in the liver in preparation for migration. That is part of the normal liver function of waterfowl.
    If animals in general are treated humanely, then the only question, it seems to me, is whether people are anthropomorphizing the geese. What proof is there that a duck or a goose suffers through the force-feeding process? How much of the concern is based on the words “force-feeding,” which has a value judgment implication in the words? How much is based on people’s projection of human desires and feelings on a bird ?

    • Wynetteweaver

      Im sure the reason the more educated and sophisticated Europeans, where foi gras originated, banned the procedure because they compared sticking a tube down a helpless gooses’s thoat and pouring in pounds of grain, reminded them of dong same to a baby. Although your comment is humorous, it isn’t based on facts which have been scientifically investigated by experts in ANIMAL CRUELTY. No matter what the twisted or ignorant psycologocial state of the HUMANS, it is the ANIMAL that is suffering

      • Alan

        France does not ban it and you clearly have not seen it done.  I have and it is not harmful at all but rather the opposite as the ducks I saw swarmed around wanting the tube as they inately gorge by natural design for preparation for migration.

    • Matt

      DW, you’re exactly right — proponents of the ban are anthropomorphizing the geese and ducks. These water fowl have anatomy very unlike that in humans: They have no gag reflex, their esophagus is lined with keratin (the same material in your fingernails) not a soft mucus membrane like our own throats, and the top opening to their esophagus is in the middle of their tongue not in the back of the throat like ours, so their trachea is not blocked when they swallow (hence they can easily breathe the whole 2-3 seconds of gavage feeding, just as if they were swallowing a fish in the wild). 

      The ban is not based on science; it is based on animal-rights extremism and big brother paternalism. And Senator Burton has killed another family farm in Sonoma due to this arrogance.

    • Dave Bernazani

      Nice try, dw, but you obviously haven’t read anything lately about modern breakthroughs in animal studies.  Read “The Foie Gras Wars” by Mark Caro, “Animals Matter” by Marc Bekoff, “Second Nature” by Jonathan Balcombe, and, while you’re at it, “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer.  Maybe then you won’t be asking for “proof” that these waterbirds suffer. 
      Oh, and it sounds like you could stand to read “The Bond” as well, by Wayne Pacelle.

    • “What proof is there that a duck or goose suffers through the force-feeding process?”There is plenty of proof, starting with the fact that the ducks, by the end of their force feeding cycle, cannot walk and also cannot breathe without gasping for air, as their lungs are impinged upon by their greatly enlarged livers. The hundreds of hours of videotape shot of dead and dying foie gras ducks by employees of the farms (www.nofoiegras.org) shows this clearly.

      Also, liver failure is a very painful condition, regardless of your species. This is not anthropomorphizing; it’s biology.

      Finally, there is a huge differnce between a duck voluntarily gorging himslef to build up fat stores in the liver and being forcibly fed far more than he would ever eat in the wild. In the former instance, the liver grows to twice its normal size. In the latter, it grows up to ten times its normal size– quite a differnce.

      Also, the ducks used in foie gras operations are not of a migratory species; they are a hybird between the flightless Pekin duck and the non-migratory Muscovy duck. Neither of these birds (nor their hybrid used on foie gras farms, the Moulard duck) would ever gorge itself into making its liver expand in the first place, as they do not migrate.

  • Eduardo Sousa has been able to make it humanely.  This American Life did a show about a chef trying to emulate Eduardo’s approach humane foie gras.  However it required a ridiculous amount of effort and proved to be unprofitable.
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/452/poultry-slam-2011?act=3

  • SF

    Why don’t they go after huge factory farms instead of this tiny bit of small farming?

    • Alan

      that to me is the real issue factory farming.  Foi gras force feeding is not a bad thing as I have seen it in real life in France.  It needs to be done by hand and done with care.  It can be done so the issue is not force feeding but how…

    • Matt

      Because it’s easier to gather political momentum behind your organization when you condemn something the public knows very little about. Foie gras is produced in the U.S. by a handful of artisan farmers and it’s a niche product most commonly enjoyed by people the media can easily vilify as “the one percent.”

      Messrs. Burton and Shapiro have an easier job putting a single Sonoma farmer and his family out of business than challenging Tyson foods and their factory production of chickens, which are purchased every day by millions of Americans. As mentioned by others, the foie gras ban is not supported by the science. It is driven by animal rights extremists who employ subtle class-warfare rhetoric to cast foie gras, an expensive food steeped in French culinary heritage and served almost exclusively in fancy restaurants, as undeserving of respect. This rhetoric has been highly effective — but it would not work on Tyson and their chicken farms.

  • ChannelLincoln

    Good to consider the disastrous consequences of a foie gras prohibition. No doubt Chicago, where the ban is in place, has been consumed by violent gang wars between latter-day Capones seeking to fatten themselves on the lucrative black market in bird-liver pate. … But foie gras down the boot-leg is a messy proposition!

  • mah

    Gavage-free production of foie gras has been successfully done in Spain (as Florin notes).
    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_s_surprising_foie_gras_parable.html
    http://www.lapateria.eu/home.html

  • carlboygenius / san francisco

    I’ve never had foie gras, but I’m sure it is delicious — otherwise people wouldn’t be fighting for it. I am equally sure that shark fin soup is delicious too — and we as a society decided that THAT food was gathered in inhumane ways. Perhaps foie gras has to be one of those things that you have to go to France to eat — like horse meat.

    Carl Becker
    San Francisco

    • Yvonne

      yea, that ole cycle of life where one day you are the eater and the next day the eaten: coming out of the flesh eating cycle takes us out of the flesh eaten cycle: As long as flesh is that yummy, we remain part of the cycle and someday in the future that duck will have  your liver in its mouth saying YUM!!!

  • Thy

    As an omnivorous food professional, I once loved eating foie gras. But part of my work is visiting farms of many different animals, and after I visited foie gars farm, I swore never to eat it again. I don’t do this lightly. The farm was in SW France, a 4th-generation family that raises their ducks and geese in probably the least intensive way possible. And yet–the birds ran away from us when it was feeding time. This is the ONLY time I have ever seen an animal run away from its feeder, from fish and poultry to pigs and cows. I still eat meat, but I don’t think I need to cause suffering during the entire animals life to enjoy it. 

    I wish there were more rational, nuanced discussion in this that highlights the real practices but also has a view toward compromise. The extreme and reactive positions taken in this discussion remind me of the whole shark fin issue last year.

  • Florin

    If SF is to become a culinary destination founded on the abuse of animals, why not legal dog fighting, since apparently abusing animals is OK according to restauranteurs?

    If humans should be 100% free to put anything they want in their bodies, why not just legalize cannibalism?

  • Chemist150

    The people who want to ban froie gras probably have a large cross section of those who won’t eat “pink slime” even though it’s safe, respects the animal that gave it’s life for you to survive by making the most use of it, and literally saves the lives of other animals due to less needing to be slaughtered in place of “pink slime”.

  • Plantgirl

    I would like Mr. Shapiro to address the comparative quantities of geese & ducks used to make fois gras vs. chickens raised in factory farms & subjected to beak trimming, etc. What are those numbers? Why spend the energy going after alleged cruelty to geese/ducks when there is certain cruelty involved in raising chickens?

  • tessa love

    The guest who described this law as “stupid” seems to have a very unsound argument. If we all stood around waiting for a way to change everything at once, nothing would get done. There are plenty of people working for the freedom of chickens in factory farms and, unfortunately for your guest, there are people working for humane treatment of ducks. This isn’t some plot to stop meat-eating in America (that’ll clearly never happen) but is a small step towards some humane treatment of some animals somewhere. If people should have a choice as to what they put in their bodies, as your guest suggests, shouldn’t a duck, too?

    • Alan

      Ducks naturally gorge and it is not something causing pain.  Ducks are not people they are raised for our consumption as these are not wild ducks.  I have been at small farms in France and seen the process it is not hurtful at all.

      I would be concerend about how a large factory farm does it though.  Force feeding is not the issue it is how it is done.

      • Claudia

         Points no one seems to be discussing:
        1. foie gras ducks in the US are humanely raised.
        2. Gavage or hand/tube feeding looks cruel because people assume ducks have a gag reflex. They don’t.
        3. The reason chefs didn’t try to overturn the ban before is because they assumed it would be overturned like in Chicago. Chefs are not politicians and did not know the difference between a law being overturned in a city as opposed to an entire state.
        4. This issue is not about the 1% being able to eat their foie. It is about extreme factions of the animal rights movement, using foie farmers as a bridge to bigger things.
        5. After my visit to the foie farm, I realized that unless people really care to “learn” the facts about ducks and gavage, that there will be no way of convincing them that this process is humane.

        • Dave Bernazani

          On your visit to a foie gras “farm” you were shown exactly what you wanted to see– a nice, pretty picture of happy animals to justify your choice to eat items that are impossible to make without cruelty.  Nice try, but you have to sleep with yourself, if you can.

          • Matt

            Just so we’re clear, Dave, it is your assertion that the farm staged Claudia’s visit by removing the small, confining pens, cleaning the barns, disposing of all the hundreds of dead ducks you claim are floating around, and — best of all — magically healed all of the sores, missing feathers, and other injuries on these ducks all in a couple days before Claudia’s visit? And the farm goes through this cover-up process every time a member of the public or media visits them? And goes right back to using these confining pens and beating the ducks after the visitors leave? That’s your assertion, right?

            Really? Do you think the moon landing was staged on a film set in Hollywood too?

  • James Ivey

     Mr. Shapiro has his facts wrong.  Eduardo Sousa in Spain produces foie gras without any force feeding, demonstrating that geese do, in fact, gorge themselves to produce obscenely large livers.

    • Peji

      then let the geese gorge themselves without lavage!

    • Alan

      Ducks gorge naturally before migrations and I have seen first hand in France the process and can tell you that it is NOT harmful as the ducks do not squak or make any struggle at all.  In fact many were lining up to recieve the corn via the hose not run away or be afraid.  They enjoyed it as they naturally have the urge to gorge.  This is like the Dog Whisperer and the dogs misbehaving becuase people impose human behavior and assumptions to an animal that does NOT share those feelings etc.

  • David in New Orleans

    What happens when you let a goose eat what it wants to eat?  Does the Foie not taste good?  Is this just being done for more money or is there a big taste difference?  Either way, seems bad for the Goose.

  • http://tinyurl.com/763wnwv
    Yeah… you don’t have to be vegetable lover to know this isn’t comfortable for ducks, chickens, cows, pigs or any animal. 

  • Tk

    I am sorry Michael, Temple Grandin is not an animal rights activist. She is a person that facilitates the continued exploitation of animals.

    • Wynetteweaver

      Really? I didn’t know that. I just know the Holllywood version, I guess.

  • Steve

    This is just a matter or cruelty for profit. This cynical coalition of crybaby chefs don’t have any interest in preventing cruelty to animals. Jamming a tube down a duck’s throat to force food into their stomachs is incredibly cruel and was rightly banned by the legislature.

    • Matt

      So, Stephen, you’ll be pledging your support for the slow series of bans that will be coming now that PETA has a foothold — bans on all meat except that from organic, hormone-free, free-range, cage-free, grass-fed animals — and those who cannot afford such luxuries are forced by economics to be vegetarians?

      • Matt

        Look out, it’s the thread police! God, you’ve been annoying.

  • Dylescot

    I’d like to iterate James Ivey’s point and am wondering if Mr. Shapiro has heard or read Dan Barber’s report on Eduardo Sousa, the Spanish foie gras producer who is has developed a system to produce foie gras without force feeding ducks.  This this has been covered extensively on NPR, particularly it was told on This American Life, so it is curious that it has not been brought up.  Since it is known that there are humane ways to produce foie gras, does that not mean that an absolute ban on foie grad is not necessary and rather more money is needed to help produce foie gras more effectively.  Wouldn’t money spent by such groups as the Humane Society be better spent on helping develop more humane framing practices for ducks rather than merely banning  the practice and leaving foie gras producers to develop this practices on their own.  I feel that the Human Society will do their public perception a disservice if they usually just promote banning farming practices rather than working directly with farmers to help the development of more humane farming practices.

  • REB

    Does this law prohibit restaurants from buying foie gras produced outside of California?

  • Stevv

    How did we come up with the very notion of fatted livers? How do we prevent wild geese from gorging? 

  • Dana

    There
    is only one foie gras farm in California, Sonoma Foie Gras.   It’s a factory farm. In 2011, I was one of
    the Animal
    Protection and Rescue League’s undercover investigators inside
    Sonoma Foie Gras.  We documented horrific
    conditions: ducks that could not get up, ducks that had difficulty standing,
    walking and breathing.  They were all
    panting, which is a sign of extreme stress. 
    They were covered in their own waste, blood and regurgitated food.  There were dead ducks inside the pens and
    ducks that were on the verge of death. 
    We saw trashcans filled with dead ducks. 
    Our footage can be found at http://www.stopforcefeeding.com.

  • Brichardson33

    I love the stuff but don’t eat it out of principle. One could test the cortisol levels which is the stress hormone and compare it to a non force feed duck. This would give us at least some concrete marker to give us insight into how the ducks are doing.

  • Tiggeroo02

    Some Asian cultures skin dogs alive because they believe it improves the taste.

    Another so-called delicacy.

    • Ramona

       more fallacies… and baiting. 

  • Bob B

    I think Mr Lalu (sp? sorry) stated it best at the end of the first half hour (paraphrasing) when he said, “I believe people should have the right to decide what they put in their body”. In my opinion, if that goes for you and I, do not ducks and geese have the same right?  Thanks you Micheal for this program. It has placed me solidly in the anti-force-feeding camp.  Bob B, San Carlos

  • Coreycatt

    Dan Barber has a TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_s_surprising_foie_gras_parable.html) which shows a  Spanish farmer who DOES produce ethical fois gras.  Also seen in TIME magazine.  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1919163,00.html  They have to convince the ducks they are wild for the process to work- free range fois gras! 

  • Pronator

    Can’t we still have foie gras without force feeding? There would just be less of it and cost more.

  • smaktcat

    I’m sorry, but I love foie gras. Love it. And while our family is very low in meat, when I go out for a nice dinner, I want to be able to order what I love to eat.

    • Chrisguldbranch

      If you liked eating baby would you eat that?

      • smaktcat

        Ducks aren’t people.

        My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~ Unknown

        A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Lazarus Long, Time Enough For Love

        • Matt

          Ducks are ducks, though. They feel pain and have self-interest. 

  • Peji

    I think a truly great chef can deliver delicious cuisine without tortured animal byproducts.
    Peggy

  • Nicole

    To put this argument to bed – just think of this – by condoning fois gras production, we are promoting inhumane treatment of animals in industry, thus giving farmers the idea that they are not to blame for their actions. How is this any different than poaching of animals for their horns or kidneys in Asia and Africa – we are allowing our farmers to be no better than poachers. After listening to this show, I will avoid any restaurant serving fois gras. 

  • Wynetteweaver

    $$$ vs Animal Cruelty.  Isn’t it obvious that those who gain monetarily are for force feeding ducks/geese?  And then they speak off topic by ignoring the process and diverging to vague philosophies such  the ‘big picture’ and having your “freedom to’eat what you want’ taken away.  The point here is cruelty that forcefeeding ducks is cruel as evidenced by scientific evidence, teams of experts, and if there is no problem, why have most of the countries in Europe, where foi gras originated, has banned the procedure and no one is protesting?Wynette

  • Johnberryus

    What about Veal?

  • Tom

    Regardless of approach, the end result is the same, animals will be served as food. Always has been and always will be! I’m fine with that…it’s part of life. Everything in between is just a venue for people to express their sense of self righteousness!

  • Amy

    This comes down to the same argument that is used in research and other industries: the difference
    between animal rights and animal welfare. The animal rights people, such
    as those in PETA, are extremists who think that animals and humans are
    equal and should have the same rights. Animal welfare folks, myself
    included, recognize that animals and people are not equal and should not
    have equal rights, but that doesn’t mean that animals shouldn’t be
    treated humanely and safely. There is zero, yes zero, evidence that
    feeding geese through a pipe to form foie gras causes any pain or
    discomfort or is inhumane, simply due to the physiology of the geese!
    But who cares about facts when we’re pushing an agenda, right. I’m still
    wondering how some of your guests and and callers can keep a straight
    face while stating that they’re just as concerned about the welfare of
    animals in the entire farming industry in this country. If they were
    really concerned about animal welfare and not about this particular
    issue, they would be fighting against the allowance of hormones and
    antibiotics in our food. They would be fighting against farming salmon.
    They would be fighting much, much more important and widespread issues.
    Finally, I keep hearing people say that this is settled, so be it. Since
    when are we ever settled in anything? If that was the case, we would
    never progress! Stating that something is settled is for the simple
    minded. I may not agree with everything that the Golden Gate Restaurant
    Association says and does, but I will support any chef who fights
    against this and continues to serve foie.

    • Ramona

       gosh you live in your little pathetic bubble eh?

      • Amy

         Ha! Yes, Ramona. I must. If by pathetic you mean able to think critically and independently and by bubble you mean surrounded by other intellectuals  who are able to think critically. Nice try, though. And great job with that writing!

  • James Ivey

    Mr. Shairo is missing the point.  He claims that super large livers are proof that the geese are tortured.  The fact that Mr. Sousa in Spain gets livers the same size shows that the size of the livers is not evidence of discomfort to the geese.

  • Guest

    Next, KQED will be proposing Shark Fin Soup. Way to go KQED in your continued decline of programming. Fortunately, I can dial in Boston, New York, Chicago, Prague, and Belize, et al, while looking for “interesting” material.  This is just helping to renew a previously settled issue. SHAME ON YOU !!

    • Wynetteweaver

      How do you dial in to Prague and Belize? I’d love to get some news from outside the US. WHenever I leave the country I realize how insular and seflabsorbed the US is. IN NZ, I watched AlJazeera 24/7 from day one of the Arab Spring. It gave me chills. In the US, a talking head said, “There’s a little trouble in Cairo” with a 5 second clip of insanely screaming arab men.  We are kept from the truth.

  • Alan

    I love Foi Gras and I also have been to France to Perigourd the region famous for Foi Gras production and met the owner of a Froi Gras farm whom personally showed us the entire process.  I can tell you the ducks are NOT in any pain but rather they were happy and not bothered at all in the process.  Remember ducks always gorge themselves naturally before their migrations.

    We should just focus on factory farms doing poor practices not Foi Gras it self nor the force feeding.  When farms in France do force feeding it is NOT cuasing pain as I saw for my own eyes, it was quick painless and the ducks remained happy.  They only do that the last week or two before they are slaughtered anyway.  People whom have not seen it in real life should not assume as they are ignorant to how ducks really are.

  • January

    Someone said (I think) that Temple Grandin had visited foie gras producers and declared the process humane, but a Village Voice article (http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-02-18/news/is-foie-gras-torture/2/) says she hadn’t actually been to such a facility. Elsewhere I’ve read that one of her disciples worked with Hudson Valley Foie Gras to improve its methods. I’d love to see where she actually says foie gras is humane and ethical.

  • Matt

    I would not go so far as to say that the ban’s proponents have a secret agenda to make us all vegetarian, but it is likewise disingenuous for Mr. Shapiro to say that the ban was motivated by science. Both the American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates and the American Association of  Avian Pathologists have concluded that foie gras is not a product of animal cruelty — the cuticle-lined esophagus of these water fowl simply are not harmed during properly administered feeding using the gavage tube.Senator Burton’s comments revealed as much — rather than point to any science to back his ban, he went off on an ad hominem rant against restauranteurs for a laundry list of social ills having nothing to do with foie gras. And when the bill was up for vote in the legislature in 2004, Mr. Burton did not seek any input from the AVA or Association of Avian Pathologists. 
    If the ban is not based on science — which clearly it is not — what is it based on? Cui bono? 

    • C.O.

      “Both the American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates and the American Association of  Avian Pathologists have concluded that foie gras is not a product of animal cruelty.”

      This quote is word-for-word all over the internet, so  cite your source next time. BTW, if you think that these organizations are ONLY considering the factual cruelty in their “conclusions,” your naive. From the AVMA’s website: 

      “[S]everal delegates expressed concern that efforts to oppose foie gras production were just ‘baby steps’ by groups with much more ambitious goals. Many of the 13 delegates who spoke to the resolutions were food supply veterinarians who foresaw adoption of a position statement opposing foie gras production as having the potential for a domino effect on other agricultural practices.”

      http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/sep05/050901q.asp

      So, yeah, they’re all about “science.” 

  • Foodlover

    Thank you for this program.  I didn’t know exactly what foie gras is.  Now that I do I would not eat it.  I am not a vegetarian, but I think we should try to limit the suffering of animals we raise for food  as much as possible.  The argument against doing so in this instance made by Mr. Lalou that the only way to attain a certain flavor or texture is to follow a particularly perverse method is the height of selfish gluttony. His argument that other animals are suffering 
    so we shouldn’t concern ourselves with this one small part of the food supply industry is self serving at best.   

  • Alouria

    The chef that was on this morning displayed incredible, petulance, selfishness and ignorance.  To say that the ban is the first step to force people to become vegan is ludicrous. And to state that people have the “right” to put whatever they want in their bodies EXEMPLIFIES what is wrong with many consumers today.  “I want, therefore I deserve to have, regardless of where it came from, how it was produced and how it got here.”   Being deliberately disassociated with the process of production whether food or consumer product is plain ignorant.  I hope the other chefs who are fighting against the ban have a more intelligent argument than  this morning’s guest.  Lastly, the complete lack of acknowledgement that the process for creating foie gras is cruel and inhumane shows his disdain fo creatures that suffer and give their lives for his profession and for the momentary enjoyment of people – many, who don’t have a clue about the sacrifice a living being made to end up on their plate.

  • Foodlover

    Matt please see 
    http://www.avma.org/reference/backgrounders/foie_gras_bgnd.asp

    There is no conclusion that foie gras is not the result of animal cruelty.
    It seems that proponents of forced feeding to produce foie gras are inaccurately using this statement as support for their position.  The best that could be said after reading the avma statement is that with extremely careful practices it may not cause mechanical injury.

  • Patricia Aleman

    Gavage may look cruel, but this experience from somebody who visited a foie gras  farm and it made me realize that ducks and geese don’t suffer from the process: http://www.realfoodies.com/tastybits/2012/02/foie-gras-is-dead-long-live-foie-gras/”What I did realize is that as long as people anthropomorphize animals, there is no chance that this ban will be overturned. Unless you have done your homework and understand the anatomy of a duck and realize that ducks don’t have a gag reflex, you will assume that feeding a duck with a metal tube is cruel. Your assumption will be false.”

    • Dave Bernazani

      Patricia- foie gras “farm” visits are carefully designed to show you only what you want to see, and make you feel good about choosing to eat a product that is inherently cruel.  Why do you think so many chefs are declining to serve the stuff?  The livers are engorged and yellowed by hepatic lipidosis.  These waterfowl are kept from sunlight and water and everything they were born to need. Does that really sound justifiable to you?

      • Matt

        This is the face of your new overlord, ladies and gentlemen. Dave accuses Patricia’s benign visit to a foie gras farm of being staged. No evidence. He says that the gavage process is “inherently cruel” which is the logical fallacy known as affirming the consequent (assuming the conclusion — that gavage is cruel — instead of proving it). If gavage feeding was inherently cruel as Dave claims, then why have the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of  Avian Pathologists not condemned the practice? The AVMA’s research found NO EVIDENCE of higher mortality for foie ducks versus ducks bred for non-foie meat. Its report states:
        “The European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare review indicates that mortality during the force feeding period is typically 2 to 4%; the Institut Technique de l’AVIculture (Technical Institute of Poultry Farming) reports a figure of 2 to 5%. Given that this relates to the 2- to 4-week fattening phase of production, this phase seems to result in mortality equivalent to the entire 12-week production period of ducks grown for meat, including the vulnerable post-hatching period.”Cite: http://www.avma.org/reference/backgrounders/foie_gras_bgnd.asp”Mortality equivalent to .. ducks grown for meat.” That’s the science. But that’s an inconvenient truth for Dave and those like him who want to force their radical morality on us.Then, good rhetorician that Dave is, he tosses in a medical term — hepatic lipidosis — without mentioning that this term, meaning storage of excess fat in the liver, refers to a phenomenon that can be a sign of disease in non-migratory species like cats and dogs but is perfectly normal for migratory birds like ducks and geese. But say the words “hepatic lipidosis” and it sure sounds like Dave knows something you don’t, and it sounds scary. But it’s not science, just scare tactics.Now that Dave and his ilk have a foothold, they’ll be looking to ban veal next. The slippery slope is real, until meat is so expensive — or illegal — that we have no choice but to be vegans like him.

        • foodlover

          This is what the European Scientific Committee report says about those figures You should read the report to understand why there is a ban in Europe. 
          “These figures compare most unfavourably with mortality rates for ducks and geese during
          normal rearing. No data on the mortality rate of non force fed mulards were found. However
          mortality rates of muscovy ducks raised in fattening units exist (Sauveur and de Carville,
          1990). The total mortality of 367,000 ducks observed during the 12 weeks before slaughtering
          was 3.60%. There were two peaks of mortality, the week after hatching and  the fourth week.
          From the fourth week to the twelfth week the mortality decreased from 0.5% to less than
           0.1% per week. Therefore for the two weeks before slaughter, the mortality rate would be
          0.2% compared with 2 to 4% in the force fed mulard birds of about the same age.”

        • M. Whitaker

          That’s not what affirming the consequent means–the error you’re alleging is actually called begging the question. However, the poster does in fact give clear supporting arguments. This practice causes serious liver damage and disease, and the birds are kept in conditions that cause further pain and suffering. There’s no anthropomorphization necessary, only neurological fact, to show that these birds have the capacity for suffering and that they are made to suffer to an extent that far outweighs the pleasure derived from eating foie gras. Treating animals in this way is clearly and straightforwardly immoral.

          • Rochma

            Ducks and geese naturally gorge to prepare for the long flights they make annually. They store energy everywhere they can including in a fatty liver. I have not seen the duck show any appearance of suffering after gavage. I think the animal rights activists have many legitimate axes to grind with the farming of animals but they have chosen the wrong target here. They should focus on the larger issues of feedlots, antibiotic use, restrictive caging etc.

          • C.O.

            Are they “naturally” force fed by humans?

          • Soyapango

            Mr.Whitaker: 

            I have seen ducks at the Sonoma Foie Gras farm with livers ten times bigger than normal and then they have been left without processing. A few weeks later their livers go back to their normal size and are healthy as ever. Why do you lie, and manipulate the real facts? I´m sorry but if you have never been more than a month in a foie gras farm you are full of wind.

      • Matt

        Just so we’re clear, Dave, it is your assertion that the farm staged Patricia’s visit by removing the small, confining pens, cleaning the barns, disposing of all the hundreds of dead ducks you claim are floating around, and — best of all — magically healed all of the sores, missing feathers, and other injuries on these ducks all in a couple days before Patricia’s visit? And the farm goes through this cover-up process every time a member of the public or media visits them? And goes right back to using these confining pens and beating the ducks after the visitors leave? That’s your assertion, right?

        Really? Do you think the moon landing was staged on a film set in Hollywood too?

        • Ariana_rad

          Dave is stating the truth: That foie gras facilities do not let you see the entireity of their operations when they give you a tour. They do not show you the ducks that are on their 14th day of force feeding, suffering from liver failure and unable to breathe without panting, much less walk.
          No, the foie gras producers take you to the barns where the birds are on day one or two of their forced feeding– still clean and fluffy and not yet on the brink of death from the forced feeding. If the ducks liked it so much, they wouldn’t have to *force them now, would they?

          • lana del taco

            But how do you know this? what evidence do you have to support your assertion?

          • Soyapango

            Where did you go? The name of the farm? How long where you there? I lived four month in a foie gras farm so nobody like you could come up a tell me things they only hear through the grapevine…You´re so off target!

      • BESSETPASCAL

        NOT CORRECT, I WANT TO HV FARM AND I WAS FREE TO GO AND OPEN ALL THE DORES AND ALL THE BARNS, YOU ARE MAKING A MISTAKE, YOU ARE MIS-INFORM.
        WATERFOWL DO NOT LIKE TO BE IN THE SUNLIGHT AND EXPOSE TO PREDATORS, THE BIRDS ARE RAISED FOR THE MEAT, NOT TO PLAY AT THE WATER PARK, BIRDS WHO HAVE ACCESS TO THE WATER ON FARM, HAVE A LOT MORE DEATH BECAUSE OF CROSS-CONTAMINATION AND DISEASES. A FARM LIKE HV HAS 3 TO 5% DEATH, FREE-RANGE FARM HAVE UP TO 23%.
        EXPLAIN, PLEASE?

        • C.O.

          I CAN’T HEAR YOU BECAUSE I HAVE FOIE GRAS STUFFED INTO MY EARS. YEAH, HOW’S THAT FOR WASTING SUCH A “DELICACY.”

      • Soyapango

        Mr. Bernazi, I´m writing a book about the vegan conspiracy and had the chance to live FOUR MONTHS in the Sonoma Foie Gras farm. In a trailer in the middle of nowhere. It was not a “carefully design visit” as you claim. All of their life but for the last two weeks, the ducks roam about in orchards with carefully balanced and plenty of food, water and much care. You are so lost!

    • I fail to see why a lack of a gag reflex has any bearing on the cruelty of force feeding. The cruelty arises from the fact that the force feeding causes the liver to swell up to 10 times its normal size, inducing liver failure and a brain disease called hepatic encephalitis. This makes it so the ducks cannot breathe, as the hugely-enlarged liver presses against their lungs, and cannot stand or walk, as toxins have built up in their brains, making them incredibly sick.
      In this state, they are unable to walk, much less properly preen themselves, and their feathers lose their waterproofing oils. If you were to put them in a lake at this point, they would die of hypothemia, if the liver failure didnt’ kill them first.
      Also, Patricia, the next time you visit a foie gras farm, try going in announced and ask them to show you every single shed with everry single pen. I guarantee they will not show you the sheds containing the birds who are at the very end stages of the force-feeding– the ones who are listless, disoriented, and dying. I am sorry you were duped into thinking you got to see the real deal.  

  • anthropomorphic

    Patricia please do your homework
    http://www.avma.org/reference/backgrounders/foie_gras_bgnd.asp
    There is much more involved than whether or not a duck has a gag reflex.

    • Matt

      Foodlover, please do your homework as well. In addition to having no gag reflex, the duck and goose esophagus is lined with keratin (the same material in your fingernails) not a soft mucus membrane like our own throats. Moreover, the top opening to their esophagus is in the middle of their tongue, not in the back of the throat like ours, so their trachea is not blocked when they swallow (hence they can easily breathe during the whole 2-3 seconds of gavage feeding, just as if they were swallowing a fish in the wild). Everything about water fowl anatomy tells us that the gavage feeding process is humane. And after 1-2 weeks of this feeding, these ducks and geese are slaughtered just like any other duck or goose raised for meat — far more humanely than chickens in a Tyson factory farm.
      The AVMA research you linked to itself states that there was no measurable difference in mortality rates between foie gras ducks and ducks raised for non-foie meat.
      I respect a person’s right to dislike and even protest foie gras — but these groups should own up to the fact that their ban is not based on science and is purely an effort to legislate their morality on others. It’s no different than extremists in other political issues like those who wish to ban abortion. It’s not science, it’s belief.

      • foodlover

        Apparently you read the science with your own bias.
        ” During fattening liver size increases up to 10-fold.15 Lipogenesis
        exceeds secretion, so the resulting liver contains more than 50% fat.15 The
        liver has reduced function to the extent that blood flow is reduced and
        hepatocyte function is impaired.16,17 It
        is reported these effects would progress and cause death if force feeding was
        continued,18 but
        that they are also reversible.20

        Increased
        liver weight is accompanied by a substantial overall live weight gain (in the
        range of 85%).21 Obesity
        influences behavior as fattened ducks are less active and exhibit increased
        panting in an effort to avoid over-heating.8 The
        ducks’ plumage may develop a wet or greasy appearance. Anecdotal observations
        by members of the European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare
        suggest fattened ducks also demonstrate abnormalities in standing po
        sture and
        gait.18 Mortalities
        have been attributed to some ducks becoming immobile and therefore unable to
        access water.”19

        • Matt

          Now you’re just being disingenuous. The first paragraph you quote merely states a fact — the duck’s liver gets fattier. Well, so do the livers of wild ducks if you measure them in the autumn before migration. Yes, the report says “it is reported these effects would progress and cause death if force feeding was continued” but the feeding is never continued because the ducks are slaughtered after just 2-3 weeks of gavage feeding. So this argument is nonsense.
          The second paragraph that you partially quote says that there’s “anecdotal observation” of abnormal posture and gait. Then the report goes on to say, in the next part you left out: “The European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare review indicates that mortality during the force feeding period is typically 2 to 4%; the Institut Technique de l’AVIculture (Technical Institute of Poultry Farming) reports a figure of 2 to 5%. Given that this relates to the 2- to 4-week fattening phase of production, this phase seems to result in mortality equivalent to the entire 12-week production period of ducks grown for meat, including the vulnerable post-hatching period.

          “Mortality equivalent to … ducks grown for meat.” The American Veterinary Medical Associations words.

          • foodlover

            This is what the European Scientific Committee report says about those figures You should read the report to understand why there is a ban in Europe. 
            “These figures compare most unfavourably with mortality rates for ducks and geese during
            normal rearing. No data on the mortality rate of non force fed mulards were found. However
            mortality rates of muscovy ducks raised in fattening units exist (Sauveur and de Carville,
            1990). The total mortality of 367,000 ducks observed during the 12 weeks before slaughtering
            was 3.60%. There were two peaks of mortality, the week after hatching and  the fourth week.
            From the fourth week to the twelfth week the mortality decreased from 0.5% to less than
             0.1% per week. Therefore for the two weeks before slaughter, the mortality rate would be
            0.2% compared with 2 to 4% in the force fed mulard birds of about the same age.”

          • foodlover

            I am not an animal rights activist nor am I a vegan.  I just don’t like to see people pontificating on any subject when they do not have a reasonable knowledge of the subject or ignore the facts to support their claims. The AVMA report seems factual as does the one from European Scientific Committee.  In light of those reports, I would have to judge that the methods used to produce foie gras are not acceptable.  Of course, that is my opinion just as it is my opinion that dog fighting is unacceptable. 

  • Claudia

    Points no one seems to be discussing:
    1. foie gras ducks in the US are humanely raised.
    2. Gavage or hand/tube feeding looks cruel because people assume ducks have a gag reflex. They don’t.
    3.
    The reason chefs didn’t try to overturn the ban before is because they
    assumed it would be overturned like in Chicago. Chefs are not
    politicians and did not know the difference between a law being
    overturned in a city as opposed to an entire state.
    4. This issue is
    not about the 1% being able to eat their foie. It is about extreme
    factions of the animal rights movement, using foie farmers as a bridge
    to bigger things.
    5. After my visit to the foie farm, I realized
    that unless people really care to “learn” the facts about ducks and
    gavage, that there will be no way of convincing them that this process
    is humane.

  • Angelica

    For the record- I have eaten foie gras and enjoy it’s taste immensely- but I am pretty sure there are a lot of enjoyable things in life that are not good for me and not good for the people, communities, animals and land from which they are derived and should, as such, not be consumed now that we know better. Word to the Debate Team Captain who put Mr. Lahlou on the lineup on air today- this is the Bay Area, baby, and you cannot put someone whose combined combustibility and hot air could set the town on fire if he were to say, fart. His combined inadequacy as a speaker, debater, and savvy politico were shameful. Frankly when confronted with the cogent and well-respected arguments of the Farm VP at the Human Society (HUMANE being the operative word), you should not cite your prime closing arguments for being unable to use humane methods of producing foie gras as “it’s taste is different and it only comes in jars.” Big Fail, Chefs. Bay Area food culture has lead the way in sustainable, local food movements and the results have been mindblowing in the past couple of years. The fact that the most innovative country and the 5th largest agricultural Mecca in the world has not, in SEVEN YEARS, come up with a better method of making foie gras seems to me, not anyone else’ fault.  As they say- Tant pis, suckers. Make some pate, pickle some cornichons, and get a better spokesmodel. For the record- being arrogant and unfeeling about animal welfare issues IN PUBLIC is the worst possible ad campaign you can wage. Will the listeners of the debate kindly exit calmly and en masse through the door to the right: Team Humane Society.

  • Sabrina

    Burton loves comparing humans to ducks and geese,
    but our anatomy is very different.  This blog does a great job
    illustrating this point:
    http://www.mrdelicious.ph/
    “Foie gras
    or fatty liver is produced by force feeding ducks or geese (usually
    ducks) in the final weeks of their lives. Avians, like pythons, will
    store food in the esophagus for a slow digestion process. They use this
    mechanism to consume whole fish. They are very different physiologically
    from humans or other mammals. For example the trachea of a duck extends
    out through their tongue and they are in no way choked or gagged by the
    force feeding process. These animals also naturally store fat in their
    skin and livers to be stored for long migrations.”
     

  • Alexis

    The argument to ban foie gras
    is based on ignorance.  Protestors should
    educate themselves
    (http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/12/the-physiology-of-foie-why-foie-gras-is-not-u.html)
    before attempting to ruin the lives of farm families. 

     

    “If you are going to protest
    anything, it should be the industrial production of eggs, where chickens are
    routinely kept in cages so small that they can’t even turn around for an entire
    year (…).  If you are against the
    confinement, slaughter, and eating of all animals, then that’s a different
    argument to be had at a different time. But to single out foie as the worst of
    the worst is misguided at best, and downright manipulative at worst.”

  • Puck99

    So wrong. People should educate themselves about the truth of foie production before they jump on an animal cruelty band wagon.

  • Greg Slater

    What about the idea that is becoming popular of force-feeding the 1% with foie gras and then harvesting their organs for use by the poor?  Please discuss.  Thanks.

  • Biophile410

    Did I really hear John Burton say that any good chef should be able to make soy taste like bacon and eggs?  The man must not have taste buds.  

  • greg slater

    Has anyone asked the ducks?

  • greg slater

    I recall that during the heyday of water boarding during the bush regime, numerous Fox News pundits declared that water boarding was actually an enjoyable experience, and several underwent water boarding to prove the point.  How about the pro-foie gras chefs undergoing foie gras so they can prove to themselves that it is humane, rather than trying to guess at the mental state of foie gras’d ducks, who, after all, can’t talk.

  • I understand that it may require animal cruelty, but Fois Gras is amazing, especially at Isa in San Francisco – http://goo.gl/l4Uqc.

    If this ban really is going to happen, I suggest all Fois Gras lovers head over there before July!

  • Deborah Blum

    Gavage is cruel and should be banned. Having a liver that engorged and yes, diseased by the definition of the word “dis-ease”, is a condition that DOES NOT occur naturally. A goose, left to his own devices, would not feed itself to this point of disease. 
    This practice of gavage should be banned. Period.
    And yes, this bill does allude to the whole issue of humane treatment of animals. One could argue, and as a vegetarian and restaurant owner (which presents a whole host of other moral dilemmas) I will argue as well, there really is no such thing as “humane meat”; regardless of how well the animals were treated while living. When we slaughter animals for food, we create a stressful, violent condition which every animal would flee from, given the chance. 
    I personally have stopped eating meat for several reasons; health, environmental, and most importantly: ethically. I don’t believe in inflicting pain or death upon animals solely for my gustatory pleasure. 

  • Guillermo Gonzalez

    To Senator John Burton from the only foie gras producer in CaliforniaListening to Michael Krasny’s KQED Forum , I confirmed that Senator John Burton openly and without reserve refer to and define “gavage” as torture. Gavage is the French term for the hand feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras. Your characterization has many damaging and negative implications which cannot be ignored, especially coming from the Chairman of the California Democratic Party.The reason I compromised with your bill, communicated through Senator Gilbert Cedillo, was your acceptance and my trust in the moment of the deal that:  The State was to assign funds so one of California’s agricultural universities could conduct research and perform a scientific study validating or negating whether the method of gavage used in our foie gras production was acceptable in the realm of animal agriculture.A few days after this compromise was reached, I received a call from your office in which I was informed that the funds for research were not available. As a result, there was no study, and therefore, no way to exonerate my business and the only viable method for producing foie gras.There is still time to uphold your end of the original bargain that supported research to determine the validity of our position. You should not dismiss current science in exchange for your biased sources of information. Every reasonable person expects better from you.You destroyed my legitimate business based on opinion and not facts. I am closing operations in June and I am calling on you to honor your word of having originally compromised to give science the right opportunity, especially now that you are using damaging characterizations which can be considered defamation of character against me, my family and my livelihood.Moving forward, please don’t continue using my words out of context and fueling hate. Your leadership is not well represented by falling into anthropomorphism and defamation.Guillermo GonzalezFounder/OwnerSonoma Foie Gras

    • foodlover

      I fail to find any “current science” to support the acceptance of “the only viable method for producing foie gras” by a reasonable person
      with average respect for other living creatures. It has nothing to do with anthropomorhism and actually even if gavage is “acceptable in the realm of animal agriculture” and may not in itself be torture, the result of the whole process goes far beyond the natural process of fattening that occurs in migratory waterfowl. Science or further research can’t change what has already been established which in itself is enough to 
      support the abandonment of the current practices to produce foie gras.

  • utera

    People with a knee jerk reaction to this and try to transfer their own experience as human to the conditions of the animal seem to forget, ducks don’t have teeth, birds don’t have teeth, they swallow large objects whole.  Their experience is entirely different from ours, entirely alien, if a human swallowed a fish whole like ducks do you would consider it inhumane torture, but its normal for a bird.  I tire of those who are so sure they need to legislate morality as well, they are as bad as the pro life lobby.

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