The Fight for Foie Gras in California

Categories: Edible News

Amol Mhatre
California's statewide foie gras ban will kick in on July 1. And as tends to be the case with foie, it's a highly contentious issue. A few days ago, Jonathan Gold had a reminder for ban enthusiasts via Twitter: "Anti-foie gras peeps: Sarah DiGregorio's 2009 Village Voice piece is still definitive." We happen to agree.

In 2009, DiGregorio saw some gruesome images of duck farms and went off to investigate.

I figured the only way to know for sure whether foie gras equals torture was to go see it produced for myself. I called a contact at the gourmet food company D'Artagnan, which works closely with Hudson Valley, and asked if I could look around. I'd want to see the force-feeding. And the slaughter. And bring a photographer.

"No problem," came the reply.

The gap between the images circulated on the Web and what DiGregorio sees in Hudson Valley's farm is enormous. Go here to read Is Foie Gras Torture?

More recent stories to check out regarding the ban:

Could CA's Foie Gras Ban Go National? Reuters
California Chefs to Wield Their Spatulas in Fight Over Foie Gras Ban The New York Times
Chefs Fight California's Foie Gras Ban NPR
Over 100 CA Chefs Sign Anti-Foie Gras Ban Petition Eater

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I'm not sure how Sarah DiGregorio's piece is "definitive." She went to only one foie gras farm (who were alerted in advance that she was coming), analyzed what she found on the advice of only one person, and didn't interview any major opposing voices to offer any perspective or competing theories about what she described.  It was "definitive" if you want an article that seems predisposed to define a pro-foie gras stance, but it felt as one-sided as PETA's anti-foie gras output.  I'm not sure how anyone looking for a genuinely objective consideration of the pros and cons (or a more thorough investigation) would get much from that article.  Maybe it's "definitive" simply because it appeared in The Voice?