California Chefs Whine Louder as July 1st Foie Gras Ban ApproachesPosted by John Melia, ALDF's Litigation Fellow on June 11, 2012
On July 1st, California’s force-fed foie gras ban will take effect, and the state will take its place as the first to prohibit this diseased and inhumane product. As the ban approaches, however, foie gras enthusiasts are rushing to shove as much of this unwholesome, fatty food down their throats as they possibly can. Teams of chefs around California seem to be competing to produce the most disgustingly extravagant foie-gras-centric menus they can imagine. One restaurant in Southern California is planning a dinner where each guest will be served an entire pound of foie gras. In this and other cases, enthusiasts’ desperate attempts to cling to their precious “delicacy” have crossed the line from self-indulgent to self-destructive.
Foie gras advocates cry that the ban is an affront to personal freedom, and to traditional American values. In fact, food production is already highly regulated, and force-feeding will merely join the list of other brutal agricultural practices we have chosen to prohibit. Moreover, the loss of foie gras will have zero impact on the lives of the vast majority of Californians. Most people rightly find the process of force-feeding used to make foie gras morally repugnant, and the exorbitant cost of this diseased liver means that only an elite few can afford to indulge anyway. As it stands today, hundreds of thousands of ducks in the foie gras industry suffer painful disease and torture so that a small group of humans can enjoy this one extravagant treat. It is long past time this country condemned force-fed foie gras, and I’m happy to see California leading the way.
Even after the ban, I expect that foie gras enthusiasts will continue to whine, lie, and engage in unhealthy behavior in an attempt to draw attention to the horrible injustice of their loss. Tantrums of this kind are expected from children of a certain age, but it’s disappointing to see a whole community of adults acting this way. After a while, they’ll notice that nobody’s paying attention anymore and they’ll quiet down. Life will then go on much as it did before July 1st. Well, for humans, anyway. Hundreds of thousands of ducks, however, will be spared from the grueling torture of force-feeding to which they are now subjected. It is for these animals that the ban will have the greatest effect. And as awful as chefs may claim life will be without foie gras in California, we must not forget that life for the ducks currently trapped on foie gras farms is far, far worse.