Two months ago, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck wrote to fellow chefs in California asking them to join him in embracing the state’s new law banning foie gras, which takes effect in July.
Now, it seems, he’s got his answer. A group of the state’s best known chefs has, instead, launched a full menu of publicity and lobbying efforts to try to overturn the ban.
Foie gras (fat liver) is made from the livers of geese who have been force fed extra-fattening foods through steel tubes pushed down their throats.
The group of chefs trying to keep this from being stopped is calling itself the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards.
(Sort of like George Orwell’s Ministry of Peace, which dealt with war; the Ministry of Truth, which managed propaganda, and the Ministry Love, which supervised torture.)
Nate Ballard, a spokesman for the coalition, said that members are visiting legislators all over the state and inviting them out to dinner.
“The chefs are going to invite lawmakers to foie gras dinner in their districts, all over the state,” he said.
Some of the restaurateurs are signing on to statements that commit to feeding methods that “don’t harm the animals.” But it’s hard to know what those methods would be – and who gets to decide whether the geese were harmed. The industry has already had almost eight years to make changes since the bill was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger. No such changes or “humane standards” have been forthcoming.
Perhaps one way for the chefs, goose farmers and others to be sure that they are following “humane and ethical farming standards” would be to try out the force feeding methods on themselves. If they’re comfortable being fed this way on a regular basis, one might assume that it is indeed a humane and ethical standard.