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Should restaurants still serve foie gras?

As the debate over the ethics of foie gras rages on, do you think it should be erased from our gastronomical dictionary once and for all?

Published on April 9th 2009.

Should restaurants still serve foie gras?

The Results...

Yes: - 51%
No: - 49%

Most people would consider the liver to be a throw-away part of an animal, prizing the meat more. But in the case of foie gras, everything is centered around cultivating and coddling the 'fatty liver', while the duck or goose is considered the throw-away product.

The consumption of foie gras has long been a contentious issue, because it is obtained by force-feeding ducks and geese through tubes inserted into their throats. Animal rights activists say the process is painful and distressing for the birds. Production has already been banned in Britain, and whilst most supermarkets have stopped stocking foie gras, restaurants are still allowed to import them from abroad.

The controversy remains, with animal activists constantly lobbying their MPs and some resorting to violent anonymous protests, targeting shops and restaurants that stock them. Eating foie gras has become more than an animal cruelty issue. It has gone as far back to the old debacle of eating animals. The issue has created divisions between vegetarians and meat eaters, spiraling into a civilised vs primitive, city vs countryside, good vs evil debate.

The recent vandalism of a Cheshire restaurant proves that the liver issue is not about to go away. 39 Steps Restaurants in Styal was subjected to violence when six windows were smashed and the words ‘foie gras’ scrawled on the walls. The owners have removed the dish from the menu in a bid to protect customers and staff.

Manchester Confidential's very own Gordo has spoken out against the protests. He said: “Anonymous violent protest is hugely cowardly and ineffectual. It's wrong even if the cause was for say, poverty and children's health. You make a stand - you're either going to eat animal produce or you be a vegetarian. But don't force your opinion on someone else. I will not push a vegan down and force feed them rump steak.”

Gordo explains that the production of foie gras has become a symbol of the French wife's independence who worked with geese as far as 250 years ago in Gascony, the home of foie gras.

He said: “I am totally for foie gras because at the end of the day, an animal has to die to feed us. There are some things that are cruel and I don't agree with, like battery chickens which should be outlawed.”

So vegetarians and meat eaters alike, what do you think? Should restaurants still serve foie gras or should it be erased from our gastronomical dictionary once and for all? Vote on the Manchester Confidential Homepage.

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63 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Gordo Knows WhoApril 9th 2009.

Foie Gras, love it, love it, love it, keep it coming, on it's own, with a good brioche, on top of a good steak, anyway you like. It will never be banned.

DrakeApril 9th 2009.

The finest dish in Britain at the moment is The Star at Harome's 'Black pudding and foie gras'. Stunning. (no mention of ethical foie gras?)

Eat it allApril 9th 2009.

Love that last ranter's name is Drake. What does he think of duck pate?

emma graceApril 9th 2009.

I've a feeling this is going to be a very long thread........

Have a ganderApril 9th 2009.

Listen this is part of a sinister conspiracy by vegetarians to stop us eating all meat period. If you object to this then there is no way you can eat meat at all because it's nasty business. All those lambkins in fields right now about to have the life ripped out of them. Still I wouldn't give it up for anything and the protein makes my brain sharper. This article makes me hungry, guess what I'm going to have for lunch. Now where can you get the best foie gras?

emma graceApril 9th 2009.

Descartes, not that I'm disputing that's what you saw, but I'm curious to know by what methods they can measure a Duck's happiness?

JamesApril 9th 2009.

Emma, it's because they're always smiling. And sometimes they whistle in a chirpy manner. That's how you can tell they're happy.

Mr LivertasteApril 9th 2009.

I often see geese and ducks dancing mainly to folk music on canals singing with big grins across their faces: "My liver is great for you, pump it with hormones, put it on a plate and no-one moans." I often object and say to them, "While I agree with the emotion dear creatures, I feel your ability with rhyming couplets leaves something to be desired."

AnonymousApril 9th 2009.

Ew, why would we want to eat all meat periods. Have a gander you sicko!

east lancsApril 9th 2009.

Anon, what is a "meat period"? Schoolboy slang for a rare steak?

DescartesApril 9th 2009.

Emma, I refer you to ehow here: www.ehow.com/how_2304740_tell-have-sick-duck.html…. 'Ducks have very definite personalities and if one is acting differently than it should be it can become very noticeable. When they deviate from their normal behavior it can mean that they are sick or injured. Through observation you can tell what a duck should act like when it is well. You will know how it behaves when it is sleepy, when it is happy and when it is hungry. You will also know when it is hurt or sick.'

Lucy TApril 9th 2009.

Seriously folks. The process of production of foie gras is cruel and if we've done it with battery hens and exponentially increased free range production then we vote with our purses and not take this cruel product. Eating animals is one thing, tortoring them is another.

emma graceApril 9th 2009.

Thanks D. Unfortunately, that particular page was unavailable. I do, however, now know how to make an Origami duck, how to make duck soup for ferrets, and how make duck diapers. You learn something new every day so they say

foolish apeApril 9th 2009.

emma, that links works fine mate.I do agree it's rather cruel, considering some devious spaniards are producing fine "fatty livers" without force-feeding, and the main reason for the continued practice is to meet french laws dictating what constitutes "foie gras".

BenitoApril 9th 2009.

Agreed with Have A Gander's point - no matter how you dress it up, all animal eating is murder, so you can't sit there munching on the rear end of a cow whilst objecting to Foie Gras

GezzabelleApril 9th 2009.

Were they really Gordo's words?! I thought he said that Geese eat their fill and then go outside and play with their friends in the sunshine?

M30 & The Local DucksApril 9th 2009.

"you can't sit there munching on the rear end of a cow whilst objecting to Foie Gras" I find that I can. The production of Fois Gras is one of the most cruel foods produced, whilst responsably reared beef cattle and free-range chickens do not go through the indignity and pain of being stuffed whilst they are still alive.

BenitoApril 9th 2009.

But on the same side of the coin, couldn't having your life short no matter the method be classed as a huge indignity also? Personally, I have never tried Fois Gras, but it always amuses me the contortions people go to to justify eating meat whilst objecting to others

Kid DiscoApril 9th 2009.

It's a difficult issue, and one that should be down to personal choice really.

JinkiesApril 9th 2009.

Way to sit on the fence Disco ;)

scrooge mcduckApril 9th 2009.

emma to see that article you need to make sure the fullstop isn't included at the end when you cut and paste the address

Ali McGowanApril 9th 2009.

I am sure I will be struck by lightening for laughing at all these postings :) [I have never tried fwar-grah before... so please don't ban it until I have at least tried some.]

emma graceApril 9th 2009.

muchly obliged mr mcduck

james crawfordApril 9th 2009.

I'm opening a restaurant in Chorlton which will serve nothing but fois gras.

JApril 9th 2009.

It is a cruel practise but, if I am honest, I would probably try it IF I found it as an opton on the menu, more out of curiosity, to see why people love it so much that they would go to such lengths to produce it.

NikApril 9th 2009.

He said: “I am totally for foie gras because at the end of the day, an animal has to die to feed us. There are some things that are cruel and I don't agree with, like battery chickens which should be outlawed.”Well maybe you should actually see how they get force fed - whilst kept in battery cages - would you like a 2 foot metal bar shoved down your throat twice a day all with the aim of making you sick with liver damage. Its one of the most DISGUSTING and BARBARIC processes in practice.

killeverythingApril 9th 2009.

who cares seriously, these dabates that people have are just idiotic. some people love it so leave them alone some hate it so leave them alone.

foolish apeApril 9th 2009.

killeverything, you could apply that logic to a lot of morally reprehensible stuff. Think before you type ;o)

MicheleHApril 9th 2009.

My 9 year old son happily tucked into fois gras (and mussels and horse which he specifically requested to try) on hols in France last year - we explained production methods to him but he was unphased and feasted with me and his dad - a true gourmet in the making?

BoredofitallApril 9th 2009.

I'm a meat eater, I agree animals have to die for our culinary requirements (or wants but I'm not ashamed of wanting to eat meat.) I don't however agree with agressive or cruel ways of troturing animals to feed ourselves. Gordo, I think your a diamond but disgareeing with battery chickens yet endorsing fois gras? That's the biggest oxymoron I've ever come across in my life. Don't make me want to not like you because I love you man!!!

IanApril 9th 2009.

Drake, I had the black pudding and foie gras at the star not too long ago. it is good but i wouldn't sayit was the best dish in britain. thought the apple was too caramelised too.

lauraApril 9th 2009.

I want to eat food that has lived freely and healthily and died quickly, painlessly and with some dignity. The thought of having a tube shoved down your neck and being forcefed fatty food to make you obese so your organs could be harvested is disgusting. I'll never eat fois gras and i'll walk out of any restaurant that serves it-but not before making a scene and shouting in the staff's face

mark mApril 9th 2009.

What a civilised person you sound Laura. Hope you never come into my restaurant

GalaxyflareApril 9th 2009.

I'm absolutely disgusted!! How can you say an animal has to die for us to eat! Like that means nothing! Every living creature deserves respect and even more so for the ones we consume. Many of these ducks have never seen the light of day if you did your research you'll find that they are kept in cages just like battery hens!! Except their every waking hour is spent cramped up in a small space then someone comes along and rams a large tube down their necks and pours grain straight into thier gut! One can only imagine the pain, discomfort and the gagging these poor animals must to endure untill, intime they become so fat they die of liver desease and this is what you eat! I am a meat eater too but I do not and will not condone that an animal has to be tortured and abused just so I can eat frois gras this should be completely banned from the world, not just from import!!

AntApril 9th 2009.

I wish people would just grow up and leave anyone who wants to eat meat or fois gras to just let them do it... it's called the food chain... i'm sure if we were out in the wild and a lion saw us i don't think it'll have anybody in the background saying 'you can eat that human, it's wrong!' bloomin hippies!

GadgeApril 9th 2009.

On a entirely separate note... centered... can we have the English spelling please?

TimApril 9th 2009.

Maybe if people were brought face to face with the means by which fois gras is produced, they wouldn't eat it. Unfortunately, the way animals are killed and reared is kept totally separate from the purchase of meat, so no-one can make an informed choice. It would be better if people were shown how animals are actually treated when they are reared and killed.

Matthew HungryApril 9th 2009.

Is this real? Are more people voting for foie gras than against. My faith in humanity is restored. Long life the freedom to be bon viveurs.

Information pleaseApril 9th 2009.

The question is where does one get the best foie gras in the Manchester area?

Beefy StewApril 9th 2009.

Information only, Is that so you can go and throw bricks through their window?

Editorially removed...“April 9th 2009.

This comment was removed because it was way off topic, political in a small-minded party way, and silly in the wrong way.

DeeApril 9th 2009.

Ugghhh! How can anyone who regards themselves as decent human beings eat this stuff? The way it is produced is so inhumane, if dogs or cats were treated like that, the RSPCA would be called in and the perpetrators would be prosecuted. The ducks feel pain to the same degree, so why the difference in the law?

graduatorApril 9th 2009.

well Dee, what you don't realise is that them duckies love it.

911 was an inside jobApril 9th 2009.

I have never tried foie gras and i never will. If they cant produce it without causing suffering then it should be banned.

Good For the GooseApril 9th 2009.

urm '911 was an inside job' is concerned about geese suffering. No problems with offending people with a hugely controversial opinion as posting name though!

DaveApril 9th 2009.

Morality aside, fois gras is a diseased liver, caused by the organ being unable to cope with the toxins contained in the sheer volume of food being ingested. Lovely eh? Introducing morality though, I don't get how anybody could be anti-battery hens and pro-fois gras. Gordo you need to educate yourself my friend

Good for the GanderApril 9th 2009.

What Gordo (who I very mush doubt needs educating on food matters from Dave!) is getting at is that with chickens there is another way! They don't all need to be caged in and quite frankly the 2 for a fiver chickens don't taste remotely like a corn fed, free to run about chick chick.As a species we are cruel to animals in numerous ways, we drag lambs from their mothers to kill them for meat - are the feelings of a lamb not in the same league as a goose? Is mental distress not as bad if not worse?The pain a chicken goes through when laying an oversized egg is torture I've heard.And fishing, surely that's worse than foie gras! You're swimming about with your mates and see a tasty lunch in front of you, you take a bite and ping you're pulled into the air to slowly suffocate.For most diets it's not needed to eat meat more than once a week, if you do then is that not being cruel?I think unless you're a vegan then to lecture others and other cultures (they've been at the geese in France for centuries) is hypocritical in the extreme. And on to cultures, in ours we don't eat all parts of an animal, is that not disrespectful waste? If we're going to kill it and then throw away the brown bits because 'ooh it's not as nice' etc etc then we're wrong there too, no?And 'Laura', how can an animal we're killing to eat die with dignity? What dignity does a pig have before it gets hung upside down for it's brains to be fried? What dignity does a sardine have when it's gobbled up in a big net with 20,000 of it's closest relatives to all suffocate slowly on the back of a ship?Unless you're all vegans who watch for little insect families before you make each step then stop lecturing others on what you think should be eaten or not. Wake up and realise that all the animals we kill for food suffer, and deal with it. Stop following the usual herd (ahem) and bandwaggon chasing and leave shops and restaurants free to sell what the market must want. Thank you.

DigApril 9th 2009.

Why don't we force feed humans with foie gras then make human liver foie gras and feed it back to ducks? That will rebalance the situation and put an end to the debate. Simple!

AvoApril 9th 2009.

Dig, its already been done. Gordo was the experiment. He has been force fed with foie gras and the finest food and drink. When he eventually passes away, those geese will be a circling...

parisian frogApril 9th 2009.

foie gras or fatty liver :-)

Dave LApril 9th 2009.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foie_grasSome interesting informtaion on the production of normal and 'humane' Foie Gras. It seems that the treatment of these birds is not as harsh as I originally thought and perhaps many readers here think.

esquiloApril 9th 2009.

oi Goodforthegander! Don't be giving the Vegans carte blanche to lecture people even more! The Unicorn crowd is insufferable as it is. Not that they care about the suffering of our friends the root vegetables. Will no one think about the poor baby carrots?

esquiloApril 9th 2009.

oi Goodforthegander! Don't be giving the Vegans carte blanche to lecture people even more! The Unicorn crowd is insufferable as it is. Not that they care about the suffering of our friends the root vegetables. Will no one think about the poor baby carrots?

castlefieldApril 9th 2009.

Vegans can only lecture for so long before they pass out!

AnonymousApril 9th 2009.

I think it's wrong. I have never personally tried this, and don't think i ever will!

FrecklesApril 9th 2009.

If Anonymous tried Foie Gras I think their opinion would change. Mmmmmm......Tasty!!!!!!

Deal with itApril 10th 2009.

I cannot live without meat. Love it. but this is barbaric unneccessary torturing of animals. I have eaten foie gras and then I saw how it was made. BAN THIS NOW!!!

Deal with itApril 10th 2009.

video.google.com/videosearch…; uhhh it's not that barbaric really... doh" Don't be fooled. foie gras is created by SCUMBAGS

CastlefieldApril 10th 2009.

Don't kid yourself all other animals die in a nice painless manner. Animals suffer when killed for meat, if you eat meat (as I do), you have to deal with it. I'm sure someone could find a video that shows Foie Gras being produced less cruely.For now here's one of the less barbaric pig slaughter videos on YouTube, we'll ban bacon now then?www.youtube.com/watch…

PeterApril 10th 2009.

Maybe the 51% who have voted in favour would like to be force fed by a tube. Yet another of the worlds selfish pleasures.

PeterApril 10th 2009.

How can you argue that if you dont agree with the production of foie gras you should not eat meat. It is the cruel force feeding that is the problem. not the use of meat. Providing they are not factory farmed, force fed. then to me that is fine.

fine dine crossing the lineApril 10th 2009.

Never really agreed with Fois gras myself, and can't really see why anyone would say battery hens are unfair but Fois Gras is fine.Maybe it should become law that before eating your fois gras that the waiter must show you a short video of a goose having grain rammed down its throat without being able to take a breath? Maybe like the shock factor smoking adverts it might make a few more people think a little more about their self gratification

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