Not sure if any of you people are aware of this, but the state of California will be banning foie gras by Summer 2012. The law was passed 7 years ago, making it illegal to force feed a bird, such as a duck or goose, for the the sole purpose of fattening the fowls liver. It will also be illegal to sell foie gras in the state in any capacity. This means some of the best restaurants such as The French laundry and Chez Panisse wont be touching the stuff….legally. The price to pay for going rogue and getting caught will be $1,000.00 per violation….soooooo, blah blah blah. All this business detailing the condemnation of such a beautiful luxury that the French have so graciously blessed us with is making me hungry.
Well, hungry and angry. The (mistaken) reasoning is that the act of forcibly fattening birds for foie is cruelty to animals. I would say that it is hardly the case. I would argue that the farmers force feeding these birds all over the country and the world over are spoiling said birds. The people at D’artagnan willingly allow anyone to tour their facility and see for themselves how well their poultry are treated. Furthermore, the birds raised to make foie gras are only to be eaten, not to become pets. They live a good life and serve a worthy purpose by supplying such a pleasurable dining experience. These animals are not pets. They are protein and fat. Some call it meat.
I’m sure the thought of eating fattened goose liver may not be too appetizing for most. My wife doesn’t care for it, but you won’t see me trying to force feed it down her throat, it should be a matter of personal taste whether you eat something or not. That goes for everything. Let me decide. With that said there are tons of things that we all should be screaming at the top of the mountain over. There are animals that truly are treated badly for the sake of food. Reasons being money and money. Saving money for the consumer and the producer. Regulation should be tightened regarding feedlot facilities housing meat and dairy cattle that won’t allow these animals to graze or even eat grass. Feeding them a grain or corn diet and injecting them with unnecessary hormones for what? To fatten them up and produce a larger yield. The same can be said to describe the horrific conditions found in large poultry and egg producers. Educating myself on such things has been pretty disturbing. It definitely makes me more cautious about what’s going into my belly.
Anyway, the dangerous part of all this is that there is now a precedent for the government to intervene and regulate a food stuff, effectively turning a centuries old delicacy into an illegal substance. It’s a very slippery slope, what’s next, no more chicken, no more beef? How about we more closely regulate the treatment of the animals to ensure their safety instead of banning a product outright because a few producers are treating their animals inhumanely? In the end it doesn’t really matter, banning things that people are passionate about never works, I wasn’t around for it but I heard prohibition didn’t go over too well, and low and behold we are free to drink alcohol until we black out despite the governments best efforts.
There are so many other things we should be looking into as responsible human beings. The possible extinction of blue fin tuna, the diseases linked to farm raised salmon, the pesticides sprayed on much of the produce available at your local grocery store and the list goes on. But please don’t take the foie. Maybe one day there will be fattened duck liver dispensaries where I’ll have to bring a prescription to satiate my addiction. You west coasters have 7 months to live it up. Then life won’t be worth living. Or you could just move to New York where the sane people live.