The production of foie gras is banned in numerous European countries such as Great Britain, Sweden and Italy, as well as Israel, Ouch, that must have hurt as they were a big producer, Turkey and Argentina. A number of states in the U.S. have partial bans and a full ban is scheduled for California, beginning in 2012. However, it is not illegal to import and sell foie gras in most of these places; just illegal to produce it.
Recently a famous Quebec chef, Martin Picard, who owns the acclaimed Au Pied de Cochon restaurant in Montreal, bowed out of Ottawa’s winter festival The Winterlude which, offers culinary experiences to food-lovers, as he refused to have one of his staple dishes, foie gras, a 5,000-year-old French delicacy, banned from the menu.
The Winterlude uproar stems from an ongoing debate over the ancient delicacy, and faced instantaneous pressure from animal activists, now increasingly threatened by calls for it to be banned because of its alleged cruelty to animals.
Wolfgang Puck, the owner of Spago Restaurant, Beverly Hills faced a similar situation when animal activists continued to hassle his customers and became increasingly more aggressive while they were attempting to enter his restaurant. It became such a problem that he finally had to make a deal with the activists, a trade-off was agreed upon; to take foie gras off the menu in exchange for sparing his beloved Weinerschnitzel, a family recipe, which was also targeted as a potential ban for the activists.
Some animal-rights activists have called the force-feeding process in the bird’s last two weeks of life—known as “gavaging”—a barbaric process and are demanding a ban. While some animal experts favor a ban others, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, say that under ideal conditions, force-feeding ducks does not cause injury or liver necrosis.
A number of celebrities have lent their names to the foie gras ban, such as actresses Kate Winslet and Pamela Anderson. They prefer a switch to vegetarian, imitation forms of the dish, which is outrageous. Ban it, but please do not bastardize the original by offering up a mock, molded pap of vegetables in its place.