- Golden State to ban foie gras on July 1, and will be only state to do so
- Ban states that over-feeding of ducks via tubes is cruel
- Ahead of ban, high-end restaurants serving abundance of decadent food
This is not a good time to be a duck with a fatty liver in California, though better times lie just ahead.
Chefs are loading their high-end menus with duck liver: terrine de foie gras, seared foie gras with mango chutney, foie gras salad and sweet foie gras for dessert.
And they are keeping secret the locations of their multi-course dinners to avoid protesters as a July 1 ban looms in California, the only state to outlaw foie gras.
Demand for the delicacy created by force-feeding ducks through funnel-like tubes has never been higher as diners sate their palates with a product that soon will be banned for production and sale in the Golden State.
‘The price has doubled. People are finding it hard to get it because the demand is so high,’ said Tracy Lee of the San Jose-based traveling dining service Dishcrawl, which has organized a series of 15 secret, sold-out foie gras dinners. Her last one is Thursday.
While gourmands stockpile foie gras at $60 a pound, others are stomaching the frenetic food fest with disdain.
‘High-end foodies and chefs stuffing down their throats excessive amounts of fatty liver from force-fed ducks in the run-up to the ban paint a pretty ironic picture,’ said Jennifer Fearing of the Humane Society of the United States.
As the California foie gras feeding frenzy escalates, protesters in San Francisco and Los Angeles are staking out restaurants and even making reservations to tie up seats at dinners they know they’ll never attend.
‘Many people don’t know what foie gras is or how it’s produced and they’re horrified when we tell them,’ said Dana Portnoy, who shot undercover video inside a foie gras operation and organizes the San Francisco-area protests. ‘
FATTY TREAT OR CRUEL FEAT? THE TRUTH BEHIND FOIE GRAS
Foie gras – French for ‘fatty liver’ – is made from liver swollen to 10 times its normal size, which the lawsuit argues is acute hepatic lipidosis, a condition linked to obesity in animals.
Ducks’ livers become so engorged by the feeding process called ‘gavage’ that the birds can’t walk and have trouble breathing.
Gavage has been outlawed in a dozen countries including Israel, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.