Foie'll be back? California chefs may duck around food ban
June 28th, 2012
06:00 PM ET
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It’s been eight years since former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill No. 1520 into law, prohibiting the sale and production of foie gras in the Golden State.

On Sunday, that ban from 2004 finally goes into effect.

As stated in the legislation:

“The bill would prohibit a person from force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond normal size, and would prohibit a person from hiring another person to do so. The bill would also prohibit a product from being sold in the state if it is the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond normal size. The bill would authorize an officer to issue a citation for a violation of those provisions in an amount up to $1,000 per violation per day.”

But because of loopholes in the law, supporters of the fatty duck and goose liver say foie’ll be back.

Ludo Lefebvre, the French chef of popular pop-up restaurant LudoBites in Los Angeles, will continue to serve foie gras after the July 1 deadline.

In order to skirt around the legislation, Lefebvre told Bloomberg News he will not sell the prized delicacy, but instead offer it free of charge on the chef’s menu.

Other restaurants are instating a BYOF – bring your own foie – policy: If you supply it, they’ll cook it.

While Lefebvre isn’t the only California chef planning to forge ahead foie-first, he is one of the few willing to announce it publicly.

“We plan to ‘give’ foie gras away, and charge for the accoutrements,” said a chef in San Mateo who wished to remain anonymous. “My decision is not based on enforcement at all.  The right to sell something customers want is being taken. We are in the hospitality business, and hospitality is giving customers what they want.”

“We are going to sit back and see what others do first,” said another chef in San Francisco. “I’ll probably still sell it or give it away to regulars who may request it knowing that they are on our side.”

Both chefs spoke on the condition of anonymity because of activist backlash at other establishments.

“Cry me a river,” said Ingrid Newkirk, the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “If you can feel any compassion about an imagined threat, why can’t you feel compassion for the real torture that you have a hand in?”

Not everyone is feeling so rebellious – notably Thomas Keller, whose two leading restaurants, The French Laundry in Napa Valley and Per Se in New York, both appeared on this year’s prestigious "World's 50 Best Restaurants" list.

“The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group will abide by the law enacted by the State of California prohibiting the sale of foie gras effective on July 1, 2012,” Keller said in a statement.

In recent months, the highly acclaimed chef became a vocal part of the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (CHEFS), delivering pleas to the state’s legislators to repeal the ban.

Now that a repeal before July 1 is unlikely, more people are turning their attention toward who is actually laying down the law.

In San Francisco, a spokesperson for the police department declared the bulk of the responsibility would fall into the city’s Animal Care & Control jurisdiction.

Rebecca Katz, the director of San Francisco Animal Care & Control, said they are largely complaint driven so if there are reports of a violation, they would initiate an investigation.

“The state needs to tighten the language,” said Katz. “We have limits on our ability to enforce this law as written, and frankly, given the nature of some of our other calls, I don’t know how much enforcement we can do.”

In Los Angeles, the police department also will not ignore the claims, but refer them.

“The LAPD would have no involvement in the enforcement of the foie gras ban because it’s a state mandated ordinance and it’s up to the county and state health departments to look into complaints or enforcement issues,” said Richard French, a spokesperson for the LAPD.

The scanty measures have left animal-rights activists flabbergasted.

“If the police don’t come up with a plan, then we will compel them to come up with an enforcement plan,” said Newkirk.

Newkirk encourages anti-foie activists to go to these restaurants and cause a flap. “Sit down and smoke a cigarette,” she advises.

According to Newkirk, the idea is that when the police come, they can not enact selective enforcement – and would have to write-up the restaurant for serving foie gras along with the activists for disturbing the peace.

Public squabbles aside, there is one issue the activists and supporters can agree on: educating the public.

“I think as the public becomes more informed as to how this happened, we will gain support to overturn the ban,” said the chef in San Francisco.

Newkirk agrees, but hopes for a markedly different outcome. “People will come to see it. People will come to feel ostracized and they’ll be labeled as really selfish gluttons.”

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Filed under: Animal Rights • Eatocracy TV • Foie Gras • Food Politics • Meat • News • PETA • Television • Think

soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. Palaniappan Rajaram

    "My decision is not based on enforcement at all. The right to sell something customers want is being taken. We are in the hospitality business, and hospitality is giving customers what they want."

    Your customer wants underage girls. Will you sell them that? What a stupid comment to make!!

    September 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  2. shawn l

    It's only cruel if it causes damage/pain/discomfort to the animal. It does none of these things. Therefore, ti is not cruel. This is just a ploy by the wacko PETA and other animal rights nutjobs as not a lot of people eat foie gras so they don't care one way or the other. If this was chicken, eggs, beef, or pork, animals that by far are treated far worse than these ducks and geese, then there would never be a law passed like this.

    July 5, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • InvasiveSpecies

      There are many of avian specialists, researchers, and vets that say the practice is inhumane and that it does, indeed, harm the birds' throats.

      July 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Rita

      You are obviously ignorant on this subject. Foie gras by definition is "fatty liver". Ducks that are providing their "fatty livers" are inflicted with pain their whole short life. WHY do you think their liver is so fat when they are killed? Well, like every other animal they try to fatten up, they force feed them. But wait – in order to get the liver that large, don't they have to feed them an enormous amount of food? Why yes, they do – and since no one will open their mouth when they don't want to eat, they shove a tube down their throats to get the food directly into their stomach. Sometimes, when the liver has become so large, it will break their ribs – and sometimes, the foie gras farmers will break their ribs for them to obtain large livers.

      Do your research before you make an opinion about something that you no nothing about, it only makes you look ignorant. Also, you don't need to badmouth ANY activist groups, no matter who they are. I would probably not say anything on this if you actually had an educated opinion, but you don't... If you really want to be knowledgeable, you listen to everything you can. Every opinion that people deem as their own "truth", and then find your own. The truly knowledgeable people are the ones who can listen to all sides of a story without taking cheap shots at those telling it.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  3. shawn l

    The ducks and geese livers naturally become engorged as they feed before their migrations. The process on farms replaces the fowls urge to gorge on their own. It doesn't harm the fowl at all. Birds have rigid throats, unlike humans.

    July 5, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Palaniappan Rajaram

      Then let the duck farmers provide the food in large quantities and let the ducks choose how much they want to eat. Ducks do this naturally as part of their preparation for the season and for migration. So, if naturally their livers would enlarge to 3 times the size and through force feeding they become 5 times the size, then it is unnatural and likely producing discomfort to the birds.

      September 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  4. Todd

    Foie gras's not only very expensive, it also has a taste and flavor that's definitely not for everyone. This law affects so few people, it's silly to get so upset about it.

    But anyway – I'm an omnivore, but make an attempt not to eat items where the process of creating them is intrinsically cruel (veal, foie gras, etc). There are tons of other things to eat, why torture an animal for one menu item? Just get something else. It's not that big a deal.

    July 4, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • wanfuforever

      It is when the government takes away our livelihood. The farmers are engaged in a legal and legitimate business, but because someone doesn't like it, the practice gets legislated away instead of having the market decide. Inch by inch, this is the way bureaucracy takes over our lives...every law passed takes choice for what you want to do away and allows government to tell you what you can and cannot do. This is not the government's business; let the market decide.

      July 5, 2012 at 4:52 am |
      • Todd

        I'm with you on letting the market decide for most things – but there are certain moral or safety issues where the government needs to step in. If we'd "let the market decide" in the 40's we'd still have sweatshops and if we'd "let the market decide" in the 60's racial discrimination in the workplace would still be legal. When you're talking about fairness/safety that the market won't take care of it and outside enforcement is needed.

        Whether or not animals being tortured meets that threshold is the question.

        July 5, 2012 at 10:11 am |
        • InvasiveSpecies

          Well said, Todd, thank you.

          July 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  5. DoTheMath

    Ducks are fed twice a day to fatten them up. Each feeding takes 2-3 seconds. This process takes 12-15 days. 3 seconds times 2 feedings a day times 15 days = 90 SECONDS of forced feeding for the entire thing. When someone screams about ducks being "tortured to death" they are lying.

    July 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Richard

      Yes, but the process swells their liver to 10 times its normal size. Set aside the act of shoving a pipe down their throat, they live for weeks for an organ 10 times its normal size. Think of how much pain that would cause.

      July 5, 2012 at 3:32 am |
      • wanfuforever

        It doesn't. We're not talking about humans, we're talking about ducks. The basic physiology is different. In any case, if you can look down and you don't see human feet, your life sucks. And even there are no guarantees.

        July 5, 2012 at 4:47 am |
      • shawn l

        And their livers naturally enlarge to this size before they go on their migrations. Read up on the subject, your ignorance is astounding.

        July 5, 2012 at 7:21 am |
        • InvasiveSpecies

          No, you should read up, Shawn. In this case, their livers are so grossly enlarged, they can't even groom themselves. It's a vast distortion of what nature does when it plumps them up for migration.

          July 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
        • Palaniappan Rajaram

          You should care about your own ignorance before you preach to others. If the ducks were given enough food and were allowed to eat on their own, just as they would in nature, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

          September 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  6. Quackers

    I am surprised that no one, NO ONE has written a comment regarding Obama yet. C'mon, someone come up with a way to blame Obama for this. If people actually knew what goes on behind closed slaughter house doors, they would never eat anything again. I guess ignorance IS bliss!

    July 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • goosy

      Ok. The Obamas eat it three meals a day.

      August 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  7. Aerin

    Ludo Lefebvre is a pig.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  8. mike

    P.E.T.A. – People Eating Tasty Animals

    There is room for all creatures, on the plate next to the mashed potatoes!

    July 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  9. lovefoiegras

    Regardless of how the animal is raised and fed.....the fact is that without the anti-French bias, the ban would have most likely failed.

    July 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  10. FarLeft

    There are no 'sides' in this issue. Raising an animal for human consumption is one-thing, but raising-it, then torturing it until death is another. This is elementally-'wrong', rules and tenets of economics do not apply here, rules and tenets of decency (which seems to be precipitously declining within the human race in-general) apply. 'Yes Garcon, please give me a helping of your tortured duck-liver..' Mmmmm, I can't wait. Cretins.

    July 4, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • shawn l

      You are ignorant and probably have never stepped foot on a farm nor raised any of your own food. The animals arent tortured and would die one way or the other as food animals.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:30 am |
      • Palaniappan Rajaram

        Let me clear up your ignorance. No one is saying that you shouldn't kill the animals but just that you don't torture it in the process. Is that simple and clear enough for you?

        September 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  11. S. Schubert

    This has nothing to do with peta or being liberal, this is cruel and people who consume food for their simple enjoyment, even though it has brought excrutiating pain and suffering, are selfish.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Quackers

      I guess you pretty much described all of America. How do you think they got so fat? They LOVE to eat, and eat, and eat....Nom nom nom!

      July 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  12. June

    I think right now, people are grossly under-educated about the processing of foie gras. Force feeding sounds cruel to humans, but ducks are not humans. Not saying that they dont have nerve ending, etc. They do not have a gag reflex. Yes, this is true, this is the reason why ducks go swimming for fish with their mouths open. Nature has designed these animals in such a way that the process of actually making foie gras is nowhere near as demonic as media and PETA makes it, which by the way is a joke of an organization, go research and their treatment of humans as well as animals which make them highly hypocritical. The process of force feeding is also done when the ducks are in their season to bulk up weight, which means most of them, their bodies and instincts are telling them to eat anyways. You dont go up to every single dog/cat owner and criticize the fact that they are feeding their pets, oh no how evil. or farmers that feed their cows corn and grass, oooh damn you farmers. I think its great that chefs are finding a way around this obnoxious self centered law that will put out many out of decent jobs in duck research, farming, foie gras production and more. Its ok you know, we are only in the biggest recession of our countries history and the only other foie gras farms are in upstate new york or out of country, but thats alright, because these hard working farmers dont need jobs right? I think before listening to how bad foie gras is, PETA, or in fact even how good foie gras is and how chefs love to cook with it. We should all learn how foie gras is made and what it actually is. That way your arguments, right or wrong, dont sound like its completely coming out of your ass..

    by the way, if your liberal and dont like foie gras, dont bother commenting unless you have something intelligent to say. I am honestly tired of defending hard workers and all you can say back to me is curse words and animal cruelty and PETA.

    July 4, 2012 at 3:34 am |
    • KCKC

      Foie Gras, aka the Snooty Dish served by a majority of Snooty Chef's who actually believe French cooking is supreme. It's a dish served to maybe 3% of the population in the USA. The rest of us eat the less snooty dish of Fried Chicken, courtesy of KFC, Popeye's and the ultra greasy Church's Chicken. The birds supplied to all fast food chicken establishments have a really horrific life, living inside a cage with barely enough room to breathe. Why are ducks more important then chickens? And for that matter, Veal and Lamb? Where are the advocates for their well being?

      July 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • June

        I wouldnt say snotty chefs, even though I do gotta admit that some chefs do rely on it way too much like a crutch. I completely do agree on your next point however. In this country, most animals suffer horrible lives in cages of factory farms. Its truly a sad sight to see, not only because it tortures these animals for 99% of their lives, but also from a cook's point of view, whats being harvested doesnt have any distinction of taste. Animals that live happier lives produce happier quality of meat. Right now currently America's quality of beef, pork, chicken is in a downhill spiral. I truly do wish people would be more educated about that. A good way to inform yourselves is by renting the movie Food. INC, great documentary of how food that we eat everyday, is being mishandled. I think there is a quote by chef Marco Pierre White, get the right bird, even if it is more expensive. Instead of having chicken two times a week, just have it once, its as simple as that.

        July 4, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Aerin

      gross video. You are a gross person.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Missnutty

      Watching your video only confirmed how gross the entire process is. And yes feeding cows corn is also terrible, they don't naturally corn it just makes them fat and sick.

      July 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
      • June

        i agree, feeding corn to a cow is a unnnatural process because cows have evolved over time to digest grass. However, we arent talking about cows. Your just nitpicking at my argument because you have no proof that these ducks are being mistreated. and again, if you think its a gross video, please come back with a argument, not just a personal biased opinion of how you think something is gross.

        July 4, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
        • sam

          Oh no! Not opinions! People aren't allowed to have those, are they? Just keep in mind that your idea of whether or not a duck enjoys gavache is also entirely opinion. Sure, ducks don't have a gag reflex and have durable throats. I don't have a reflex against people poking my durable forehead. Of course, I wouldn't enjoy people poking my forehead repeatedly, even if it didn't hurt. Your opinion (yes, opinion) is "Who cares? It's a duck. They can handle it"

          Now can we all just stop whining and let the majority decide things?

          July 5, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • InvasiveSpecies

      June, way down in this comments board, you'll see a posting by vets and avian specialists talking about how cruel this practice is. PETA didn't bring on the ban, by the way - it was brought by a ballet initiative by the people of California. In addition, this practice is banned in several countries, which kind of tells you something.

      July 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • Rita

        Well said.

        It seems to me that people who reduce themselves to name calling and profanity just don't know the issues. Please people, read up on issues such as these. With the WWW available, it is not acceptable to be uneducated about things like this. I understand that we can't know everything about everything – but before you form an opinion, look at all sides of the matter. Look at it from the side of the people who eat it, the people who don't believe in the practice, and the animals themselves. My opinion is that out of all three sides, the people who eat and prepare this dish have the least to lose by banning the practice. And yes, the same goes for veal, chickens, and factory farming in general. I could go on about factory farming's influence on greenhouse gasses, poor health for humans, and poor conditions for the animals, but I already feel a little preachy.

        November 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  13. Primal 4 Life

    Go to Ted dot com. Search for Dan Barber. Watch his talk about foie gras. There you will learn that there is a way that it can be done without force feeding. Very interesting talk.

    July 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  14. TheBlueCar

    So let me get this straight.... people feel they should be able to torture these animals so they can eventually eat them. So why are complaining about Michael Vick again???

    July 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • dt

      who is complaining about starting quarterback Michael Vick?

      July 3, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Truth

      It isn't torture, the ducks seemingly enjoy it. I've been to a duck farm that sells foie gras and ducks to many restaurants, the ducks are happy, they enjoy being fed, they don't fight or avoid the person that feeds them.

      The eggs from the chicken you eat from large factory farms lead equally miserable or far worse lives.

      July 4, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  15. Really

    Newkirk is incorrect. The police can give her a citation for smoking and arrest her for trespass, yet not give a citation for serving foie gras.

    July 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  16. Beelzabarber

    you're not the DUCK! It doesn't matter how long it takes. Its cruel. I am somewhat of a carnivore (not a bleeding heart) but if its cruel, its cruel. Humanely and quickly killing and butchering an animal for food is one thing, torturing it over a prolonged period is criminal. Yes, veal too you sick bastahds

    July 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Common Sense

      Wow another frothing at the mouth liberal whack job that needs prozac

      July 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
      • SC foodie

        And another conservative that doesn't understand their charicature of liberalism is not realistic. Quit lumping people into groups. I will vote the right-wing, "health care is a privilege," "corporations are people," Citizens United supporter, "free"-market propagandists out of office.

        But I order and enjoy fois gras. It may be a contradiction, but I also donate considerable amounts to animal shelters.

        Get used to people with diverse beliefs that may be different from yours.

        July 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • JT

      But it's delicious. Besides, worse things are done to many of the animals we consume.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • MA

        It does not make it ok. We all need to become more conscious and use our ethical and moral consciences to stop. Don't you think that there is enough to eat without having to continue these horrible traditions? I do not think that we will starve if we do.

        July 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • MA

      I agree. There is more harm done to the animal – not just the liver. They bleed internally and suffer tremendously. What does this say ab out humans? Have we lost all compassio? We have taken the idea "I live to eat" way too far!

      July 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • gen81465

        If you believe you have taken the "I live to eat" motto too far, you are free to stop eating altogether. But remember, your right to starve yourself does not give you the right to starve others; including me.

        July 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
      • June

        do you have any proof of this? I dont think ducks, during their prime feeding and bulking season would have their intestines break and bleed due to this process that only lasts 3 weeks. Also if your offended by the process of force feeding itself, ducks do not have a gag reflex or a throat like you or me. Its like trying to explain to a fish what it is like to have thumbs. While in our imagination we can only think of force feeding as a cruel way to treat an animal, these animals feel no pain, because first they have to do a very similar activity when diving where water rushes into their throats, and second like i said because they do not have the same anatomy of humans. So unless you have proof, I think putting aside your fact-less personal biased opinion is best. Unless you are Newkirk, God, I love to see her act 6 and ask diners to smoke a cig in a restaurant or cry her a river, when shes 60 something. I mean I would say grow up, but I honestly thought she would have done so by now

        July 4, 2012 at 3:49 am |
      • June

        Im not offending you personally, I think in this country in general, we need to take better care of our animals, but I just cant stand it when people are demonizing a good operation, run by legit people, when there is a mass of factory farms you could be attacking against. I mean, come on, which is the less of two evils, a proven, with constantly developing standard of treatment of ducks, foie gras farming, or factory farms that crams mass of animals, feeds them steroids and drugs, cover them with feces, and inhumanely dispose of them?

        July 4, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • SixDegrees

      It's not cruel. You're projecting your human gag reflex onto an animal that doesn't have one.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  17. Scott in Atlanta

    PETA is going to "force" the police to take time from murders and rapes to investigate foie gras? PETA, get a grip!

    July 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • billybart

      Maybe the police will be ok with spending more time on the job in return for free foie gras

      July 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  18. Benjamin

    As a chef, I believe the best way to handle this situation is to expose the full details of the production of this 'delicacy' and let adults decide for themselves. Consumption will likely decrease further if an increasingly educated consumer saw for example...a video of this procedure of force feeding. I've served it many times in the past- but will no more after seeing this done right before my eyes.

    July 3, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • billybart

      I don't know about this. I've seen the feeding and it takes a very brief amount of time and appeared to me to be not nearly as bad as I had imagined. I can't imagine that the duck enjoyed it but on the other hand I don't imagine any living thing enjoys being cultivated and killed to be someone's meal. This is one of many reasons I enjoy being on the top of the food chain.

      All in all, i find it tasty and am ok with it.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • cloudraptor

        That's fine as long as you admit you're "at the top of the food chain" through no doing of your own. Were food not prepared and sent to you, you'd starve.

        In before "I'm a hunter" riposte.

        July 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
        • billybart

          Tried hunting, it was too much work. It doesn't hurt my feelings to shoot any animal, but I can get food much better and less expensive at the market.

          No animal is at the top of the food chain of their own doing they are at the top of the food chain by virtue of the species that they are.

          I still don't hae any problem with foie gras, so long as the rest of the duck or goose is not wasted. Then I might have difficulty with this concept.

          July 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Videos aren't accurate, in the sense that they evoke feelings of the human gag reflex. Geese and ducks have no such reflex, but those opposed to foie gras productions carefully omit that fact and happily push the "How would YOU like a tube shoved down your throat?" line on an uninformed audience.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  19. BD

    I think PETA is right, the next step is to begin a step by step genocide campaign to wipe out every predatory animal that makes its prey "suffer" before consuming it.

    First on the list is every spider that paralyzes its prey and consumes them alive, next are sharks, those nasty buggers will take one bite from a seal and then leave it to bleed out. How inhumane, no? Finally, any snake that consumes its prey live.

    We need to stop these horrendous acts from occuring, eliminating "suffering" from the human supply chain is just the first step in restorying the natural order of the food chain (so that it only includes things that are either green or don't cast a shadow).

    But I digress.

    July 3, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  20. William

    I eat "braunschweiger" spread instead. All of the flavor with less of the guilt. Haven't read how they treat those pigs though...

    July 3, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  21. jute

    I tried it once not knowing what it was and how it the animal was mistreated. I found it so disgusting I spit it in my napkin.

    July 3, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • hecep

      You sound like you made that up.

      July 3, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • baj4q

      So between putting it in your mouth and swallowing, someone explained to you the process of how it was made, then you stopped chewing and spit it out. BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 3, 2012 at 9:41 am |
      • BD

        In fairness, I think they were referring to the taste/texture not their moral discuss. (i.e. I didn't like the taste before I knew how it was made).

        Personally I love the foie and cook it myself regularly but I can easily see how someone might not like it especially if its been only lightly cooked.

        July 3, 2012 at 11:26 am |
        • BD

          discuss = disgust, I can't type today

          July 3, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • JT

      You should stick to eating at the Olive Garden then.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  22. KP

    What people call "delicacy" foie gras, is actually diseased liver for duck or goose; eating a normally raised and slaughtered farm animal or hunting animals in wild is very different from shoving down food down the throats of ducks and geese and making their whole lives miserable until they are slaughtered.
    I do eat meat but would not touch the "delicacy" foie gras or support its 'production'.

    July 3, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • billybart

      Yeah, diseased duck livers taste awesome.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • Rita

        See, these ignorant comments only reduce your credibility and make you seem ignorant and childish.

        November 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Really

      It is not a diseased liver. You can get fois gras "naturally" without the forced feeding, if you catch/kill the duck/goose at the right time of year - having to do with migration.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  23. lsn2me

    well, that's a good start long overdue. now, how about banning all meat that comes from inhumane factory farms where animals are confined to such small quarters that they can't even turn around to scratch their deriere?

    July 3, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  24. IronGhost

    You can achieve the same effect without force feeding, it has been proven that simply allowing ducks and geese to graze on olives will fatten their liver, and it creates and even better flavor.

    July 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  25. GimmeABreak

    In case any of you hysterics out there are interested in facts: (1) Foie gras is not a "diseased liver". Duck and geese livers have naturally evolved to store up fat for those long flights to warmer climes. They do this by overeating. (2) The birds don't have any pain or gag reflexes in their esophagus, so overfeeding them can hardly be called "torture". I'm sure the feeding freaks them out a bit, though it's over in a few seconds.
    If any of you brave souls want to protest torture, there's plenty of human torture and mistreatment going on in the world you could do something about. If you had the guts, of course.

    July 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • BD

      I've always imagined it was kind of like funneling a beer. Not exactly something you do on your own to relax but I don't think the average frat party goer would consider it torture.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • June

      finally a voice of reason....

      July 5, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  26. buttwhatif

    wow . i thought we had alot of more important things to be concerned about

    July 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  27. Byron Potter

    Sometimes I well question PETA about some stuff, but, force feeding ducks just so humans can enjoy their enlarged liver, no way in hell. I love meat, but , I dont eat liver.

    July 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  28. Oscar Pitchfork

    If we as a Nation had anywhere NEAR the balls we claim to have, we would have ridden these control freak government people out of town on a rail, AND burned every single member of PETA alive at the stake for their involvment in creating this national anti-human movement.

    July 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Huh

      This was a ballot initiative by the people of California, Oscar Pitchfork ... not exactly intrusive government or the work of PETA.

      July 3, 2012 at 8:37 am |
      • Francis

        Why let facts get in the way of a perfectly good stake burning? Oscar should move to Salem, MA.

        July 3, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  29. Doonnnn

    There are plenty of things that people want to buy that should be illegal. However, this product shouldn't require a legislative ban. Anyone with any empathy for other living things should know better.

    July 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  30. EGB2

    It's a clever argument, but if the charge for the accoutrements is hiked up to cover the expected cost of the foie gras, then the fine should be assessed. The word smithing doesn't change the fact that the foie gras is being sold.

    July 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Really

      Not true. If I can buy fois gras with rice for $50 or rice with nothing for $50. The $50 is for the rice. Therefore, no fine should be assessed. I'm not buying the fois gras. I'm buying the rice.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  31. Vera

    Back on topic. Torturing animals is unethical and immoral. Eating the meat from a sick animal which is force fed is also unhealthy for us all. If you are not moved by ethics consider the ramifications of eating sick animal products.

    July 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Wang

      It's not sick, Vera. It's fat, tortured and, by the time you get your fois gras, dead. Go hug a tree.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Shelly

        Aw, Wang, so you don't read much? Vera is correct: the animals are TORTURED so that snooty folk can 'enjoy' the guts of the poor bird. Chefs are not known for being particularly progressive as far as animal rights are concerned. One can be kinder when caring for animals meant for the food supply. No reason for cruelty. Ever.

        July 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
        • Really

          Aw, Shelly, so you don't read much? The animals are not tortured. They are force fed, which does not hurt them, to create an enlarged liver. The liver of the animal is designed by nature to be enlarged during migration. Therefore, it's a natural process. The animals are not sick.

          July 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Oscar Pitchfork

      Vera Wang AND Shelly need to quit masturbating and go get yourselves a life...

      July 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • JT

      Get over yourself.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  32. Sherrie0824

    Chicago tried this ... same result; it was still being served. Won't politicians ever learn? You 'prohibit' something, people want it more. Jeez. The amount of foie gras consumed will probably double now. Just leave well enough alone.

    July 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  33. C Smythe

    It is just food. I don't much care how it is made as long as it is safe for me and my family to eat. Next we will have some hippy crackpot saying it is wrong to kill and eat corn!

    July 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • M Winthrop

      Gluttony is so 1985.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Dori

      People in other parts of the world eat dog. Since they believe stress hormones tenderize the meat, the dogs are either beaten to death or skinned alive.

      Do you REALLY not care how dog is killed–the meat, is after all, safe for you and your family to eat.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • Oscar Pitchfork

        Stress! Man! I didn't know that! That'll put a whole new spin on my preparations come this winter's rabbit season...

        July 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  34. Ben K

    Either you think it is wrong to torture an animal, or you do not think it is wrong to torture an animal. Kinda like statutory rape right? Either you think it is wrong to sleep with someone too young to truly give informed consent, or you do not think it is wrong to sleep with someone before they are capable of providing informed consent. This is not an issue about freedom and liberty, but instead about an animals right not to be tortured.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Really

      Except animals are not human. They don't have rights.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  35. Langkard

    "My decision is not based on enforcement at all. The right to sell something customers want is being taken. We are in the hospitality business, and hospitality is giving customers what they want.”

    Ah, yes, the old "I'm just giving the customers what they want" excuse. A favorite excuse of heroin dealers and child pornographers all around the world. Congratulations.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  36. TwM

    Do we the people really want a Government this intrusive?
    PETA has been proven to be fanatical nut jobs that would actually kill an animal rather than see it "suffer" in a zoo.

    July 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Yum

      so you approve of force feeding a duck by shoving a funnel or hose down it's throat so that you can enjoy a meal that will be pooped out the next morning?

      July 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • M Winthrop

      It is necessary, in any society, to have a set of standards by which each member must adhere. In Asian countries, the elderly consume pulverized flesh of deceased infants. This is wrong, and society must say-so. It is also wrong that Asian countries keep bears in crush cages to extract bile from their livers. And, oh yes, it is also wrong to keep geese in such a manner that tubes are forced down their throats and injected with torturous amounts of food.
      Sadly, the role of declaring what is right and what is wrong befalls the government because individuals are, for the most part, self-centered, useless buttocks who can not regulate their own behavior.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • werd2urcorpse

      I am all for the downsizing of government and the removal of needless legislation. However, I don't think this is needless. Giving people the right to jam food into an animal to the point where the animal's liver is enlarged just so that it will taste a certain way is cruel and needless. And don't mistake me for some hippy treehugger. I think that, if you're caught selling foie gras, you should be tied up and fed McDonald's until your liver is enlarged. Then you should be forced to testify to congress on how humane the process is and how we should keep doing it to ducks just because we like the way it tastes. If this were a matter of life or death, kill the duck for food! This is a matter of torture for what? Vanity? Indulgence?

      July 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Huh

      It was created by ballot initiative ... approved for by the people.

      July 3, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Huh

      Do your research ... this was based on a ballot initiative.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  37. Jeff

    So long as abortion is allowed in this country, I will not buy any argument that meat is immoral to eat.

    July 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Yum

      aborted fetuses? hmm...

      that sounds like it could be a delicacy.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • peter

        aborted fetuses, hmmmmmmmm Slice me up 2 to go

        July 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  38. GRS62

    "The right to sell something customers want is being taken. We are in the hospitality business, and hospitality is giving customers what they want."
    Same line that crack dealers and pimps use.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  39. Roger

    People Eating Tasty Animals

    July 2, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  40. Food is Food

    At least one can still travel to Las Vegas and enjoy the foie. Just not California raised.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  41. Converted Liberal

    I used to vote democrat but between this silliness about what I can and can't eat, keeping Tombstone AZ from getting water because of a damned owl, and other silly enviro-whacko BS you're driving me straight to the GOP and Tea Party.

    July 2, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Liberal for Life

      If that's all it took to convert you, then maybe you shouldn't have labeled yourself a liberal in the first place.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:55 am |
      • Truth™@Liberals or all stripes

        I hate it when people politicize a food blog.

        July 2, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Therese

      Yeah... you never were a "liberal" were you? LOL!!

      July 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  42. The Witty One

    I don't like PETA. They are poopie heads.

    July 2, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • AleeD®@TWO

      Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

      July 2, 2012 at 10:30 am |
      • bambam

        no but he kisses yours

        July 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  43. liver lover

    PETA is a terrorist organization. Duck liver and goose liver have been farmed in this manner since ancient egypt. The animal is bread for slaughter. It will be killed and cooked. I am so sick of all this PC garbage surrounding food. People want to eat fatty duck liver, let em. No one is being forced to eat it.

    I think the best thing we could do on this planet right now is to eat people.

    July 2, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Food is Food

      Or beaver

      July 2, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Grace K.

      I don't like PETA etiher, but forcing food down an animal's throat to make its organs more tasty is a cruel practice.

      July 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • JT

        I haven't heard any ducks complain. Have you? At least they are being fed. There's plenty of people around the world who are not.

        July 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • George W. ( the other one from Texas)

      Reminds me of the movie Soylent Green with Charlton Heston.
      It's ridiculous that CA government has taken this stance...
      What's next...Veal...
      Give me a break. I love vacationing in CA, but I think y'all are nuts...

      July 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  44. BOBBY

    Here is an idea for all you pretentious chefs....cook food instead of art.

    July 2, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  45. KAM

    " The right to sell something customers want is being taken. We are in the hospitality business, and hospitality is giving customers what they want.”

    So if they bring you any chunk of mystery meat or organs, you'll cook it up, no questions asked? A leg of dog, a human arm perhaps?
    What an idiot. A rebellious childish reckless teenager who needs somewhat smacked upside the head is what he sounds like.

    July 2, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • MTHM

      That chef is not in the business of cooking what people bring in, its just specifically foie gras because its banned. You should re-read what the chef wrote.

      July 2, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • gen81465

      Check out my latest chinese cookbook: "101 Ways to Wok Your Dog"

      July 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  46. Schmedley

    "The scanty measures have left animal-rights activists flabbergasted"

    It's because no one gives a rip, i.e. there are bigger problems that we need to deal with that take about the same amount of enforcement resources.

    July 2, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  47. laughingin LB

    You conservative whiners are a bunch of scared schoolgirls, except most schoolgirls have a higher IQ. This week has been GREAT watching you go off the rails.

    July 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Yum

      this has been a week that keeps on giving. Were the most polarized as a country since the Civil War and I can see the top blowing off in the next 10 years. Hopefully...

      July 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  48. allenwoll

    The penalty should fall on the DINER, NOT on the provider - Just as with drugs ! ! !

    July 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • bob

      But with drugs the penalty DOES fall on the provider. (And the consumer as well.)

      July 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Snacklefish

      Ahh, another "medical" marijuana farmer chimes in...

      July 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  49. Michael Ma

    People in other parts of the world are being enslaved, raped, murdered, tortured, and dying of hunger. Yet these people put more effort in giving ducks a little bit more comfortable lives that were meant to be killed for human consumption anyway. Good job!

    July 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
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