Crise de foie “Nothing is more delicious than that which is forbidden”

California’s decision to ban foie gras (a decision upheld on July 18th, meaning that appeals for rejection of the ban must now wait until the end of August) have ruffled duck feathers in south-west France. 

In truth, it’s been a long time coming: the original vote on the ban went through in 2004, under Schwarzenegger.  Foie gras was banned in Chicago in 2006, but the ban was later revoked.  Wine merchants and restaurants in France have been invited to ban Californian wine in riposte (though sales of Californian wine in France are anecdotal).  In fact, pre-ban sales of French foie gras in California were tiny, too, and some in France suspect that the ban may in fact be the best possible promotion for the product.  It will now acquire some of the allure of bootlegged Champagne or Scotch during the prohibition era – or bootlegged Cuban cigars today.  Nothing is more delicious than that which is forbidden.

What’s your position on the ban?  Here’s mine.

1. Is foie gras delicious?

Yes, very.

2. Is its production cruel?

Yes, very.  Check this EU report if you don’t believe me:

3. Is the battery farming of poultry cruel?

Yes, very.  How would you like to spend the rest of your life in an artificially lit caged airline toilet in close proximity to 6,000 other people who will tear your hair out and bite your flesh given the chance?

4. Does California ban battery-raised poultry?

I don’t think so.

5. Is fishing cruel?

Yes, very.  How would you like to be dragged out of your armchair with a hook in your mouth, or in a giant net along with everyone else in your village or your district, then deprived of your natural element (the air) and allowed to drown slowly in another one (the bath)?

6. Does California ban fishing?

I don’t think so.

7. Is a grizzly bear killing a baby elk cruel?

Yes, very.  It tears its throat open and then starts eating.

8. Does California ban grizzly bears from killing baby elk?

I don’t think so.

9. Are bans a good idea?

Yes, of course.  Imagine what would happen if we didn’t ban the killing of other human beings, for example.

10. Are all human beings banned from killing other human beings?

I don’t think so.  In times of war, soldiers are meant to kill as many enemy combatants as possible.  The most successful killers win medals.

11. Does California kill people?

Yes.  There are currently 725 offenders awaiting capital punishment in California.

12. Will they be allowed foie gras for their last meal?

No.  It’s too cruel.

Further viewing: there are two video clips on Foie Gras well worth watching by Chefs Anthony Bourdin and Dan Barber.

Eduardo Sousa foie gras - natural farming in Spain

Picture from Rougie L’Ecole de Foie – a dish by Chef Serge Chenet


By Andrew Jefford | Produce | Related to: , |

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Crise de foie “Nothing is more delicious than that which is forbidden”

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