Congratulations to California, USA for its legislation that now bans the production and sale of pâté de foie gras in the state.
Foie gras producers were given eight years by the legislation to develop alternative methods of production. It’s hard to imagine what form a cruelty-free alternative to foie gras might take; particularly as foie gras requires the force feeding of ducks and geese to such absurd levels that their livers become enlarged and diseased. These livers, along with other ingredients, are used to make the paté. Of course, no one came forward with an alternative and the law has come into effect.
Foie gras is produced by inserting a tube into the oesophagus (gullet) of the duck or goose through which boiled maize mixed with fat is fed. Mechanised systems can deliver the feed in just two to three seconds, allowing one person to force feed up to 400 caged ducks in an hour. Ducks are typically force-fed twice a day for 12 to 15 days and geese three times a day for 15 to 21 days. The amount of feed in each meal is abnormally large and is increased over the force-feeding period. If force-feeding is stopped, the birds greatly reduce their feed intake for several days.
California’s ban on the sale and practice of foie gras really is a huge step forward. There was a last minute push by defiant pro-foie gras restauranteurs to stop the ban. Fortunately for the ducks and geese involved, their efforts failed. As Michael Voltaggio of the Hollywood restaurant, ‘ink.’, told LA Weekly, ‘Nobody likes to be told what to do, and that’s one of the biggest problems with this whole thing. But at the end of the day, it also forces creativity.’
I like his attitude. Change forces creativity.