Following the recent spate of protests by animal rights activists targeting restaurants serving foie gras, operators are asking themselves if there is a future for this most controversial of ingredients on British menus.
An article on the subject of foie gras in this week’s Caterer and Hotelkeeper has sparked a flurry of letters from readers who believe that restaurateurs should stop using it, not just out of self-preservation in the face of attack, but because of a moral imperative. I’ve attached two below. The first is from Kathleen, Duchess of Hamilton:
“I do believe that your readers would have profited from more information about how exactly foie gras is made. Foie gras involves cramming pipes down birds’ throats, distending them in such a way that the ducks and geese are all made ill. This grotesque process kills 10 to 20 times as many birds as would die without being force-fed. Force-fed birds are in misery and barely able to move. Some birds have their necks torn by the pipes, and sometimes the animals’ internal organs rupture. No wonder diners, restaurateurs and chefs worldwide are turning against a food which earned universal condemnation from every animal protection organisation in the world and comes from a diseased organ. It is, in a word, immoral – as is profiting from its sale.”
Another correspndent, Helen Basley, also emphasises the moral aspect of eating – and serving – foie gras.
I can understand your dismay that restaurants are being targetted for providing foies gras on their menus and I certainly do not agree with this kind of activity. Howevere I do firmly feel that it is time that foie gras became a thing of the past bearing in mind the appalling cruelty involved in its production. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to eat a disease masquerading as a delicacy and I hope that eventually lovers of food can appreciate that animal welfare should be a priority when it comes to providing the finest ingredients. I would therefore urge you to read the evidence and advertise the fact that as a restaurateur you would be proud to state that there is a morality attached to what and how we eat and that you no longer want your staff to prepare food on a guilt trip.
Do you think there are circumstances in which it is morally justifiable to serve foie gras? Do you love the guilty pleasure of eating foie gras? Perhaps you agree with animal rights activists’ protests? Whatever your views, let us know.