Council Passes Resolution Supporting Foie Gras-Free Restaurants

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Council Passes Resolution Supporting Foie Gras-Free Restaurants

By Carol Yur, on DailyCal.org

Berkeley City Council passed a resolution Tuesday expressing the city's position that it does not support the purchase of foie gras.

Berkeley follows a handful of other cities with similar resolutions commending restaurants that have stopped serving foie gras, or fattened liver.

Foie gras is the artificially enlarged liver of a duck or goose that has been force-fed 20 percent of its healthy body weight, according to Councilmember Jesse Arreguin.

"The importance of this item is to raise awareness of the really inhumane practice of force-feeding geese and ducks to create foie gras," Arreguin said.

In September 2004, California was the first state to enact a statewide law banning the sale and production of foie gras, which will go into effect in 2012, according to Christina Tacoronti, campaigns coordinator for the Animal Protection and Rescue League.

After the law goes into effect, violators can be fined up to $1,000 per day, according to a California Senate bill analysis.

"We're just very glad more and more city councils and elected officials (are) coming out that they do not support this extreme form of animal cruelty," Tacoronti said.

San Francisco passed its resolution last month, and Mayor Gavin Newsom has agreed to remove foie gras from the restaurants he owns, Arreguin said.

Many chefs in San Francisco have taken the item off the menu after being informed of the league's findings from its investigation into foie gras farms, according to Tacoronti.

"The geese could hardly breath and walk because of the force feeding process," she said. "We stress it to the restaurants and they pull it off the menu because a lot of consumers refuse to support this animal cruelty."

But Todd Kniess, chef-owner of Bistro Liaison on Shattuck Avenue, which occasionally serves seared foie gras, said people are entitled to their opinion and the state should not legislate what can be eaten and produced.

"My feeling is that if you start legislating what people are allowed to eat, what's going to be next?"

Despite the resolution, Kniess said he will probably continue to list foie gras on his menu.

"I'll probably continue to serve it as a special here and there," he said. "(It's) one of the great dishes of France."


Visit our image gallery and see the video Foie Gras: Delicacy in Despair.

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