America’s foie gras fixation
The country of “hormone-laced beef” and “chlorinated chicken” is on a crusade against foie gras, said Hélène Menal. Animal-rights groups last week persuaded the New York City Council to bar the product from stores and restaurants, claiming that force-feeding geese and ducks to create an extra-fatty liver is cruel. Farmers in Gers, the region in southwestern France that produces the world’s finest foie gras, at first reacted with befuddlement. “Fine, more for the rest of us,” said one. The ban doesn’t actually affect the French at all—France hasn’t exported foie gras to the U.S. for 20 years, ever since the European Union banned the import of hormone-loaded American beef and the U.S. retaliated by slapping steep tariffs on European goods such as foie gras and truffles. But French farmers do feel sympathy for Ariane Daguin. The daughter of a famous French chef, she relocated to the U.S. to found gourmet food purveyor D’Artagnan, which sells some fine U.S.-made foie gras. And they fear that the ban is bad for the industry’s image. “This is a big publicity stunt for the animal lobby,” said Marie-Pierre Pé, head of the foie gras producers’ association. How can France fight back against the “anthropomorphism” that pretends a goose is equal to a person?