By Contributing Food Editor Jared Levan
As I’m sure many of you aware, you recently lost the right to purchase foie gras (since, approximately July 1st). While the ban was targeted specifically at the sale of the delicious end product that is foie gras, it was apparently so “broadly” written that it may also carry over to all skin, feather and other by-products that come from duck raised for foie gras production.
So what’s the big deal? Well the reason that animal rights activists are so against the sale of foie gras is, not surprisingly, focused on the methods used to produce it. Before you can sell foie gras, you’ve got to first fatten up a duck or goose to the point where the animals liver has fattened and become engorged from such a gluttonous diet. The problem is, this typically means that ducks are force-fed copious amounts of feed to “speed up” the process and ensure the desired end product.
(Foie Gras Terrine)
Regardless of the controversy, restaurants, chefs and consumers across California are still finding ways to get their foie gras and eat it too…so did this ban really accomplish anything at all? What makes this cause more prominent than many other animal-rights encouraged actions and why did this particular cause get it’s own ban?
If consumers across the nation…save the world, will continue to find ways of buying and consuming foie gras and other by-products of the fattening process, than that means culinary professionals will still need to be trained in how to cook with and serve said offering. That being said, how will folks be trained if it’s illegal for the schools in which they learn are not permitted to provide it’s students with the correct supplies?
(Foie Gras Mousse)
My point, summarized below, is:
1. Schools can’t properly teach technique with merely “theoretical” knowledge of any food so the ban severely hurts the culinary community.
2. While I don’t/won’t miss trans fats, or +16 oz. sodas, these bans on food focus more on stopping people from being stupid, when the real issue is education. Instead of banning large drinks, offer more inexpensive alternatives, offer more incentives, or just educate them (and I don’t mean with those ads that look like a cup brimming with fat).
3. Let people make their own choices. If you don’t support inhumane treatment of animals, then only eat foie gras from humanely raised producers…no one is forcing you to eat it.
4. People are always going to find a way around the law–whether it’s blocking the sale of alcohol or animal products. Rather than making it illegal to buy/sell, which will promote unlawful conduct, regulate it’s production standards to appease those who so staunchly despise it.
5. I’m glad I live in New York where I can still buy duck fat–it’s a staple in my kitchen, one I’m not willing to give up anytime soon.