Louisa May Alcott once wrote, "What is the use of living in a land of the free- which it isn't- if one cannot do as one likes?" Laws abound in the land of the free. They tell us how fast to drive and if we even are allowed to drive. Permission is needed in order to sell alcohol at your restaurant or bar, and you are required to file papers and be granted licenses for pretty much anything you desire to do. We are now approaching a time when we are being told what food we can sell in our various dining establishments. Foie Gras, a product made from the livers of ducks and geese, is set to be banned from California's eating establishments on July 1, 2012, following legislation begun in 2004 from then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The process of preparing the livers for foie gras is the cause of the uproar and call for the ban. Animal rights activists and many others in our communities were outraged by what they consider inhumane conditions, as the organs of the birds are fattened by being force fed at a very pace. With the ban imminent, a large group of chefs has joined together in protest. Regardless of foie gras being the subject matter, they feel lawmakers are crossing a line in passing laws dictating what can and cannot be served in their restaurants. As part of the protest, they are proposing ways to make the practice of foie gras preparation more humane which include modifying feeding techniques and opening the farms to easier health inspections.
Well known chefs lie on either side of the foie gras line; Wolfgang Puck is an outspoken supporter of the ban, while Anthony Bourdain believes foie gras should be allowed and agrees with finding alternatives to the procuration of the dish. For more information on the ban and the chef protest, check out California Chefs Fight Ban on Foie Gras.