Fowl play? Battle over serving duck delicacy leads to protests in Utah

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2008 12:59 a.m. MST

TV chef Anthony Bourdain, an outspoken defender of foie gras, visited the farm in a December segment of his show "No Reservations" on the the Travel Channel. "I happen to think foie gras is one of the most delicious things on Earth, and one of the 10 most important flavors in gastronomy," he told viewers.

The program showed ducks freely waddling around, seemingly unperturbed during the feeding process. A veterinarian on the show said that researchers found the farm's ducks to be less stressed than ducks living in the wild.

But after three visits to foie gras farms in 2005, Chicago chef Charlie Trotter decided to pull foie gras from his acclaimed restaurant, Charlie Trotter's, sparking controversy.

In a Chicago Tribune story, rival chef Rick Tramonto called Trotter's decision "hypocritical," and Trotter retorted, "Oh, OK, maybe we ought to have Rick's liver for a little treat. It's certainly fat enough."

Citing Trotter as its inspiration, Chicago's City Council passed a city-wide ban on foie gras in 2006, prompting a backlash campaign by Chicago Chef For Choice (chicagochefsforchoice.com), and a lawsuit by the Illinois Restaurant Association. Mayor Richard Daley called it "the silliest law" and has sought for a repeal. Meanwhile, the state of California voted to ban the production of foie gras by 2012, putting Sonoma Foie Gras, the state's sole producer, out of business.

Last fall, Philadelphia Chefs for Choice was formed to fight a proposed ban in their city, as well as the animal rights protests outside their restaurants and homes. The group's mission statement concluded, "In the city of Philadelphia, the birthplace of American liberty, we want to keep the right to serve foie gras."

More information

Read more about the foie-gras issue:

Legal Foie Gras (legalfoiegras.blogspot.com)

Artisan Foie Gras (artisanfoiegras.com)

Stop Force Feeding (banfoiegras.org)

The Truth About Foie Gras (GourmetCruelty.com)

E-mail: vphillips@desnews.com

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