Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Concern for Anthony Bourdain’s Overextended Liver Prompts Unique Holiday Gift

Posted on December 21, 2011

Post-Holiday Indulgence, Could Celebrity Chef Be as Diseased as Birds Force-Fed for Foie Gras?

For immediate release

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Anthony Bourdain
San Francisco – Today, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent a very special holiday message to celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who has been on the “naughty” list of animal lovers for years because of his support of cruelly-produced foie gras. In the spirit of holiday giving, ALDF is offering to arrange to have Bourdain tested for hepatic lipidosis–the same dangerous liver disease that ducks and geese develop as a result of being force-fed massive amounts of food prior to being slaughtered for foie gras. Humans can also develop hepatic lipidosis as a result of excessive food or alcohol intake. Because of his notorious overindulgence, Bourdain himself could be at risk by the time his holiday platters have been licked clean.

A copy of ALDF’s letter to Anthony Bourdain follows.

December 21, 2011

Mr. Anthony Bourdain
c/o Inkwell Management
521 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10175

Dear Mr. Bourdain,

On behalf of the national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund ( and our more than 100,000 members, we are writing to offer you a holiday gift, borne of a special concern for your health in this season of overindulgence. As an outspoken supporter of the “delicacy” known as foie gras–the massively enlarged, fatty liver of a duck or goose who has been force-fed huge amounts of grain through a feeding tube–you are already familiar with the freakish impact that this process has on the birds’ organs in question. As holiday tables are being set across the nation, we at ALDF are deeply concerned that your notorious appetite could lead you down a similar path to pathology by New Year’s–which is why we’d like to offer to have you tested for hepatic lipidosis, the same liver disease from which birds fattened for foie gras suffer.

In September, ALDF filed a petition with the United States Department of Agriculture arguing that foie gras products should bear consumer warning labels noting they derive from diseased birds. As you know, on foie gras farms, ducks and geese are force-fed three pounds of mash per day through a pipe shoved down their throats–the equivalent of force-feeding 45 pounds of food to an adult human, such as yourself. This process, banned in over a dozen countries and, effective next year, in the state of California, induces a liver disease that cripples and often poisons the birds. It is this disease that produces the foie gras you have encouraged fans of your show No Reservations to serve to their guests during the holiday season.

While most sane humans would not willingly subject themselves to repeat and painful gorging resulting in rapid-onset liver disease, we fear, particularly at this time of year, an avowed gourmand such as yourself might be at risk. With no sense of compassion for the birds killed in this horrific industry, you might also lack the necessary dietary restraint to protect your liver from a binge-induced expansion to six to ten times its normal size. And so, in this season of giving, we at ALDF would like to offer to arrange for you to be tested for hepatic lipidosis as you recover (we hope) from your year-end pig-outs.

I can be reached at 707-795-2533 to assist in scheduling your lab work.


Lisa Franzetta
Director of Communications 

36 thoughts on “Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Concern for Anthony Bourdain’s Overextended Liver Prompts Unique Holiday Gift

  1. Margo Santoro says:

    GREAT Letter!!!

  2. Patty says:

    I won’t be watching anything he has to do with that is for sure!

  3. I am fully in favor of this letter. Bravo!

  4. staci fallek says:

    OH..I love it! It’s perfect! I want to share that letter on facebook.

  5. Stacey says:

    That is AWESOME!!

  6. Maria Hernandez says:

    I used to watch his show. Not anymore! That is for sure.

  7. any name says:

    If I was him, I’d take you up on it just to spend some of your money.

  8. Sally Hodges Clanin says:

    Wonderfully written letter! Thank You! If that doesn’t get his attention I cannot imagine what would!

  9. Clint Rose says:

    Love it.

  10. Alyce Miller says:

    Thank you for this!!! Did he ever respond?

  11. Pam Smart says:

    Although I’ve never tasted foie gras it sounds awful and I never liked A.B. anyway!

  12. Ann-Marie Jacobs-Brown says:

    Brilliant. Love the offer and excellent explanation. Well done ALDF!

  13. w h brown says:

    i will never watch his shows anymore, foie gras should be banned world wide, it is a disgrace that it is still been done.

  14. Pam Nickerson says:

    Every time I see him on TV I will remember this article. Never watch his program again. Aren’t there enough gastro pleasures to be had without this inhumane treatment!

  15. Nancy says:

    Please communicate his response, if you ever get one, which is doubtful. Specialty dishes like foie gras and veal cutlets are mostly ordered by wealthy diners. Wealthy people mostly insulate themselves from the pain, suffering and problems of ordinary people and creatures, so of course they lack compassion, which is the only hope of animals everywhere to ever escape abuse and cruelty.

  16. Kim Wilczyk says:

    Great letter, however, A.B. is very arrogant and I’m sure your letter was thrown in the circular file! I’ve watched his shows a few times and I found him to be very rude and self-absorbed. I don’t know how people can find his company interesting while dining!

  17. msalabama says:

    Excellent ALDF! Clever method to perhaps draw his attention and [dare we hope?] even change his mind about the hideous foie gras. I never watch any of the cooking shows on TV cuz of the inherent animal cruelty.

  18. Joan Lorenz says:

    Could anyone say it better?

  19. Misha Dee says:

    Great letter.
    One can be a culinary connoisseur with out torturing another sentient being from birth to death.
    There’s another person I find even more revolting, Andrew Zimmern. That man is one gluttonous, ugly creature. The premise of his show is to eat things (dead and alive)for the sake of the viewer’s shock value. I find him just disgusting to look at. Sweaty little fat guy,that grunts & smacks in delight whenever he opens his mouth to shove more “things” into it… disgusting.

    I doubt either one of these gentlemen will get the message. However, I believe in the concept of “you are what you eat”. You eat the carcasses of tortured animals, your soul becomes haunted.
    All the money in the world can heal that.

  20. Desiree says:

    What goes around, comes around.

  21. Joan Lind says:

    I have watched this Bourdain, not because I enjoyed his show, but because I wanted to see just how inhumane he was. WELL, I saw! First of all, he has no compassion for suffering. If he did, the first thing that he would do would be to stop eating foie gras. I have been fully aware of what is done to produce these swollen, unhealthy livers for inhuman consumption. I’d like to stick a tube down Bourdain’s throat and watch him feel the pain a goose feels as his liver bursts, and just watch the pain he endures. SHAME on him, and shame on the network that carries his show.

  22. Catherine says:

    There’s something very wrong with a guy who seems to take such pleasure in eating an animal that was just killed, right before his eyes. Everything he does on that show is for shock value. He thinks he’s a tough guy and really tries to play up that persona, but the true test of a tough guy would be one-on-one combat with a tiger.

  23. Rebekah says:

    This guy is all about himself and he smiles smugly as these poor animals suffer for his pleasure. I find his self-indulgence rather distasteful.

  24. Pat says:

    Great Letter! Just wondering if he doesn’t have so much fat(not just the liver) but, in his head that he can comprehend the seriousness of the disease. Maybe, when he dies he will donate his fat organs to the very people that eat these poor geese.

  25. Fendrayton says:

    Call me what you want…but personally, I hope he HAS the disease, AND, I hope it is far enough advanced to cause him HOURS OF PAIN. In MY mind, this is not only fair compensation, but a SMALL amount of retribution for ALL the pain he has been responsible for. If nothing more, his promotion of foie gras is in the least, aiding and abetting the suffering of these birds.

  26. kia says:

    Wish I had known about this last year when I saw him lead a cooking competition and do a book signing at a travel show last year. I would’ve asked him about it. there should be a campaign to pressure individual stores and restaurants from carrying foie gras.

  27. glen says:

    This guy is one of the most arrogant people around. He walks around like he’s some bad-ass and his stuff doesn’t stink. I have absolutely NO interest in watching his lame-ass show!

  28. Grady says:

    Bourdain along with the other chef andrew both boast their salacious appetites to a viewing audience at the expense of animals that are caught and eaten often alive at the expense of the defenseless. May you the disease you get be a result of the murdered bodies that you have eaten to satisfy your lust for the flesh.

  29. Audrey says:

    I stopped watching his show a long time a ago after he ate Guinea Pigs and other animals. Also after the episode where they tried to butcher the goat and it didn’t go well.

  30. Debbie says:

    Well stated
    Thanks for taking the time to address such a “nonhuman- human”
    We will be waiting for his reply!

  31. Debra Elton says:

    I don’t understand why Bourdain is targeted instead of the companies that actually make the stuff. Can someone explain, please?

  32. Christina Bombard says:

    NICE! You know, there is just no sensible reason for him to keep eating this type of fois gras.. he could very well eat only the responsibly handled, humane fois gras, really. I liked his show too, very disappointing.

  33. Michele Vernet says:

    As a child, in France, I used to indulge in foie gras. I have been a vegetarian for 30 years, eschewing meat because I am an animal lover and do not want to take part in their suffering. There is nothing “delicate” about Pate de foie gras and it and its method of processing it should be FOREVER banned from anyone’s plate and from all birds’ sad lives! As for Mr. Bourdain, I can only pray for his sake, that his very public notoriety of overindulgence comes back to bite him soon enough as a wake up call that “all’s not well in his laissez faire attitude of excesses!” Bourdain has the means to make ample difference in the future lives of farm animals worldwide! Wake up Bourdain! Il y a des choses vraiment “delicates” dans la vie! Ca, c’est l’habilite de te mettre dans le sang d’un autre etre!

  34. deborah wood says:

    I’d like to encourage him to stuff himself, get his liver all fattened up, and let me serve HIS liver to my dogs – I am sure they would find it as much a delicacy as he finds fois gras to be

  35. AmandaM says:

    Would not pay for his liver tests, let him croak, the world will be a better place.

  36. D. Yacko says:

    Post an address for the food channel so we can write and get him off the air. We need to let the Food channel how we feel. DorothyY

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