My aim is to make choices based on fact, therefore I research everything before making a judgement. I wanted to understand the origins of foie gras and how it became such a controversial topic. Foie gras means ‘fat liver’ it occurs naturally in migrating birds building up their reserves before making their long flight. It dates back to the Egyptians with stone carvings depicting geese and ducks being hand fed corn.
The process of ‘Gavage’ is the force feeding of geese (three times a day) and ducks (twice a day) for up to four weeks to create the engorged fatty liver that is known today as foie gras. The birds are often restricted in individual cages during this time. The use of the words ‘force feeding’ should tell you everything you need to know.
In reality the forced version is actually faux gras. It is fake. It is similar to De Beers selling cubic zirconia as diamonds. This seasonal delicacy sourced from a migrating geese and ducks, has become a factory farmed all year round horror show. Part of the lunacy of this is that under french law foie gras can only be called foie gras if it comes from a bird that has been force fed – ‘sacré bleu!’
So let’s look to Spain for some sanity in this crazy topic. A producer that is passionate about food, but also has the greatest respect for nature, they produce a superior and traditional foie gras with no force feeding. Visit their website and watch the short video clip http://sousa-labourdette.com it is very interesting and refreshing. Night and day from the torment and cruelty that french foie gras represents.
France produces 79% of foie gras, production is banned in the UK as it is in a lot of other countries. However the import and sale of foie gras is still legal in the UK and it is served in a lot of high end restaurants. It is an awkward moment when people in your party order foie gras. Let them know they are paying for diamonds and getting cubic zirconia. It is literally a fatty liver with very little relation to the original delicacy.
I can live without foie gras as I am sure a lot of us can, but an important part of being an ethical omnivore is to possess the knowledge to be able to challenge and debate views and attitudes towards food.