When it comes to culinary controversy, there are few things more divisive than the fatty duck liver known as foie gras. The reason? The allegedly inhumane "gavage," or force-feeding process, which involves placing a metal tube down a duck's throat to deliver large amounts of food. In fact, the 5,000-year-old French delicacy has had such a bad reputation that it was once banned in Chicago, and will be banned in California by 2012.
But in a recent investigative piece, Village Voice contributor Sarah DiGregorio visits the nation's biggest foie gras farm, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, and finds the process to be relatively inoffensive. She writes:
The sights could not have been more different from the horrifying images I'd seen on the Internet . . . the actual process with the tube didn't seem to bother them . . . Each waddled calmly away, looking unfazed: no breathing problems, no vomiting, and no trouble walking. Their feathers were fairly clean, and I didn't see any lesions on their feet or bodies . . . If I had seen with my own eyes that Hudson Valley produced foie gras by abusing ducks, this article would have turned out very differently. But that just wasn't the case.
I found myself relieved to read at least one perspective demonstrating that the production of foie gras was far less harmful than PETA and its opponents have portrayed it. Were you surprised by DiGregorio's investigation? What impact do you think this will have on the foie gras industry?