In less than a week you won’t be able to find a lobe of luscious foie gras in the state of California as the ban on its sale goes into effect after an eight-year grace period.
While many farmers try to make the birds as comfortable as possible, the Humane Society has reported the feeding tube can damage the birds’ esophagus causing bruises and lacerations.
Is it unethical to force feed an animal if it comes willingly to the feeding tube? What if Beethoven’s Ninth is being played during the force-feeding? Are these animals treated any better than factory-farmed chickens?
Here’s what food-industry insiders, from restaurant owners to chefs to food activists, across the United States and Canada had to say on the issue.
Chris Cosentino, chef/owner, Incanto, Boccalone & PIGG, San Francisco
“What we’re dealing with here is a freedom-of-choice issue; our freedom of choice is being taken away from us. When you go out to eat you have a choice, it’s called a menu.
Foie gras is a touchy subject and if you choose not to support foie don’t buy it. There is no way a government should be able to choose what people can or cannot eat.”
Bruce Friedrich, director, Farm Sanctuary, Washington, D.C.
“Science confirms what intuition indicates, that cramming pipes down animals’ throats and inducing a disease, which is what foie gras is, is horribly cruel, causing death rates to skyrocket by 10 to 20 times. Imagine any process so cruel that death rates go up a 1,000 to 2,000 per cent. Obviously, the suffering for the animals is severe.”
Farm Sanctuary was the lead organization behind the ban in 2004.
Lisa Ahier, chef/owner, Sobo Restaurant, Tofino, B.C.
Foie gras is not a part of my diet, however, I am against government telling me what I can or cannot eat. I have visited foie gras farms in the Hudson Valley, and the birds seemed much happier than cattle I have witnessed in feedlots in Texas or Oklahoma.
David McMillan, chef/owner,
Joe Beef Restaurant, Montreal“The ban is nonsense, we should sooner protest fishmongers and fish importers for Chilean sea bass, certain tuna and countless red zone non-sustainable wild fish.”
Special to The Globe and Mail