Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain gave a speech today while local residents held a banner outside displaying the cruelty involved in the production of foie gras, or liver from force fed ducks.
Bourdain has been an outspoken defender of the controversial appetizer, made by ramming large metal pipes down the throats of ducks and pumping them full of massive quantities of food to the point where they are sick and dying, according to animal cruelty investigators who have documented the process.
"Anthony Bourdain has made many false and misleading statements about foie gras production," states Bryan Pease, Esq., President of the Animal Protection & Rescue League (APRL). "He has even claimed that the ducks in Hudson Valley Foie Gras approach the force-feeders, but I have witnessed that they actually struggle to get as far from the force-feeders as their pen or cage allows them to."
Bourdain does not defend all controversial eating practices and has gone on record saying that he has taken pains to ensure that he is never offered dog or cat meat.
The production of foie gras by force feeding has been banned in at least 15 countries, and the state of California banned sale of the product, effective 2012. Six city councils have supported a ban. Chicago also banned the cruel delicacy from 2006-2008, but Mayor Richard Daley gave his former chief of staff and Illinois Restaurant Association lobbyist the clout she needed to get the ban repealed for her clients.
While the Chicago ban was in effect, some chefs experimented with various faux foie gras dishes which were received well by restaurant critics, with the Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel noting that it was virtually indistinguishable from foie gras.
The Animal Protection & Rescue League has been holding protests nationwide at restaurants that continue serving liver from force fed ducks. Animal cruelty investigators for the organization have documented what they allege to be animal torture in the three U.S. foie gras facilities and several in France. Their video narrated by Sir Roger Moore, the early James Bond Actor, is posting at www.StopForceFeeding.com.
Celebrity chefs who have renounced foie gras because of the animal cruelty include Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter. Dozens of other restaurants have removed the item as well, listed on www.stopforcefeeding.com under "Campaign."
The petition to ban Foie Gras in the US may be found here: Petition Site