Wednesday, September 7, 2011

California Foie Gras ban goes into effect

The Artisan Farmers Alliance and intends to fight the California law.

Chef Gary Danko sears an inch-thick slice of duck liver in a small pan in the San Francisco restaurant where he earned a Michelin star until the meat develops a golden-brown shell.

The delicacy known by its French name, foie gras, is garnished with figs and champagne grapes, a variation on a dish he’s served since opening Restaurant Gary Danko near Fisherman’s Wharf in 1999.

“I sell probably 40 orders a night or more,” Danko said in an interview while salting the meat. “When the protesters are here, double that.”

The protesters are animal-rights advocates who say force- feeding ducks and geese to fatten their livers is cruel. Danko and other California chefs will have to remove foie gras from their menus in July, when the state becomes the first to ban the dish, under a 2004 law.

At issue is the method of feeding the birds, with a tube inserted in the esophagus.

“These birds have done nothing to deserve this fate of being force-fed several times a day,” Paul Shapiro, a spokesman for the Washington-based Humane Society of the United States, said in a telephone interview. “It’s an inhumane practice that should be relegated to the history books.”

Connoisseurs say the process mimics behavior in the wild, where the birds gorge themselves before migrating. Foie gras purveyors say the force-feeding causes no pain, and that opponents are trying to impose the values of vegetarians on everyone else. Full story

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