forgot password?
remember me

French Delicacy Defended By Chefs

Chefs in white jackets lined the halls of the Maine State House today to defend a French delicacy that's served in fine restaurants, and is increasingly under attack by animal rights activists. A bill in the Maine Legislature would outlaw the force-feeding of birdsspecifically ducks and geese for the production of foie gras.

Foie gras is a French term meaning "fatty liver." And if the sound of that weren't enough to make you ruminate over the ingredients of the dish, animal rights activists paint a picture of pain and suffering that doesn't make it any easier to swallow. Katie Lisnik is the Maine State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization.

She describes the force-feeding of ducks and geese as "cruel and inhumane" and outside the norm of farming practices. "Birds are routinely confined to small cages or crowded pens. They are force-fed tremendous amounts of feed via a 12-to-16 inch pipe which is shoved down their throats and attached to a pressurized pump, often. The force-feeding may be performed twice daily for up to two weeks for ducks and three-to-four times daily up to 28 days for geese."

Lisnik says these force-feeding methods cause the livers of ducks and geese to increase up to six to ten times their normal size and makes movement for the birds difficult and painful. Lisnek and other animal rights activists are supporting a bill that would ban the practice in Maine, even though no farms currently produce fois gras.

But the chefs of several well-known Maine restaurants say they do occasionally offer foie gras on their menus. "I'm here just 'cause there seems to be a knee-jerk reaction about it and a lot of anger. I mean, even out in the hallway, I had my chef jacket onI might as well have had a target on my chest," says Rob Evans, chef and owner of Hugo's Restaurant in Portland.

Unlike many of the supporters of the bill to ban force-feeding of birds, Evans says he's visited the Hudson Valley farm where much of the region's foie gras is produced. "I was very impressed. I often joke that it was like a "duck spa." Short of a manicure they were getting everything they needed. The smell, everything about that farm really blew my mind on how well these things were raised."

Outside the hearing room, the marketing and sales director for the farm known as Hudson Valley Foie Gras said his company's farm practices are not outside the bounds of normal agriculture. Rick Bishop says Hudson Valley has a standing invitation to anyone who wants to see how their ducks are raised to come on down for a visit. "Come see how we raise our birds, and then you tell us. If you can convince us that we should be stopped, we wouldn't carry on something that was inhumane."

Bishop says even the New York state assemblyman who was going to sponsor a similar bill to the one proposed in Maine changed his mind about the legislation after visiting the farm. But animal rights activists point to more than a dozen countries, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and Israel, have now outlawed its production because of animal welfare concerns.

In the United States, California has become the first state to ban the force-feeding of birds and outlaw the sale of foie gras from force-fed birds effective in 2012. Representative Alan Casavant of Biddeford says his bill is different. "It does not in any way limit consumption. Restaurants will continue to be able to serve such a food to their customers. This bill is not designed to stop any existing production facilities. It deals solely with the future possibility of such farming."

In other words, Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York State would still be able to provide Hugo's with its menu item. And Hugo's customers would still be able to enjoy itthey just wouldn't be able to have it produced in Maine.

ChefsWorld a World created by Chefs for Chefs.
We Provide the facility for Chef Employers and Chef Recruitment Agencies to advertise their jobs online to recruit a Chef or find a Chef online.
Chef Recruitment

The Chef Jobs site has : Executive chef jobs, Head chef jobs, Sous Chef jobs, Chef de Partie Jobs, Commis Chef Jobs, Pastry Chef Jobs, Development Chef Jobs, Consultant Chef Jobs, Specialist Chef Jobs - all levels of chef and Catering Jobs.
Chef Jobs

The Chef Section has : Chef Forums, Chef Network, Chef Recipes, Rate Employers, Suppliers Offers and Chef Links.
Chef Forums


Head chef / Executive chef jobs
Pastry chef jobs
Sous chef jobs
Chef de partie jobs
Commis chef jobs
Speciality chef jobs
Other jobs

+ChefsWorld Tim Capper
Tags: Chef , Chef Jobs , Foie Gras , French Chef Jobs , French Chefs , Jobs

Follow us on Twitter  Follow us on Twitter Find Us on Facebook
© ChefsWorld   |  Terms of Use |  Site map  |  Web Design by OS3