|Duck Foie Gras Burger at La Toque - get it while you can|
The coalition, dubbed C.H.E.F.S., the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards, has drafted up a charter that was delivered to the California legislature today, which includes the signatures of over 100 well-known chefs, including anti-ban supporters Ken Frank (La Toque), Douglas Keane (Cyrus) and Chris Cosentino (Incanto), as well as Thomas Keller (The French Laundry), who originally said that he would support the ban. The C.H.E.F.S. are offering a counter proposal that supports the legal sale of foie gras, but would require farmers to raise geese and ducks in a more ethical manner, specifically in a cage-free environment, with minimal stress, and by the use of feeding methods that do not harm the bird's esophagus or beak. The complete details are spelled out in a document they call the California Charter for Hand Feeding of Ducks and Geese. They argue that an outright ban will simply result in a black market of foie gras, as has happened in other cities.
So far, the response from at least one elected leader hasn’t been, um, all that supportive. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, which has been covering the story closely, former state Senator John Burton, who wrote the ban in 2004, retorted, "They've had all this time to figure it out and come up with a more humane way...I'd like to sit all 100 of them down and have duck and goose fat - better yet, dry oatmeal - shoved down their throats over and over and over again."
Oh boy. Looks like this is going to be a pretty ugly food fight.
Foie gras fans and foes: where do you weigh in on this? Are you apt to eat foie gras that's raised in a more ethical way? Or should the whole industry be shut down? Tell us what you think in the comments.