One of the things I enjoy most about my blog snack is the limitless un-editorialized space it provides at the slightest whim. It's nice to be able to tell people - say what you want, for as long as you want, and I can run the entire story sans edit. In this post, I give you an email from Ariane Daguin, founder and owner of D'Artagnan, purvey of foie gras and more recently, defender of Gotham's right to eat the fat liver.
Now to the email, unedited so that you can read, discuss and decide for yourself.
Your help is urgently needed BEFORE Tuesday to stop the ban of foie gras forever!
Alan Gerson, NYC downtown councilman, is introducing a ban on foie gras this week. To keep access to foie gras possible. please read the foie gras facts below and call, email, or fax your New York Councilman and all the New York State Legislators you know, to tell them to put a stop to the anti-foie gras campaign BEFORE Tuesday, November 28.
Contact your councilman today at http://www.nyccouncil.info
(This site allows you to look up your personal district representatives and get their email addresses and phone numbers.)
Contact Alan Gerson, email firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Legislative Office Address:
250 Broadway, 18th Floor
NY, NY 10007
Phone No.: (212) 788-7259
Fax No.: (212) 788-7727
You will find all the facts about foie gras and its production below for use in your communications.
Thank you very much for helping to fight those who want to make some of the best food in the world illegal.
More details and factoids from the email after the jump
[UPDATE NOVEMBER 28TH: CRISIS AVERTED]
1.Raising ducks for foie gras is humane Thats the only fair conclusion if you base your assessment on unbiased scientists and veterinarians rather than anti-meat activists. Foie gras farming has been extensively researched by scientists and is in the mainstream of animal agriculture. The artisanal duck farms and processing facilities comply with all state and federal regulations, including the rigorous food safety requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To produce foie gras, the birds are hand-fed by producers two to three times a day over a two to four week period. Each feeding takes only approximately 20 seconds. Our flocks are in excellent health and our mortality rates are among the lowest in poultry farming.
-The American Veterinary Medical Associations House of Delegates has twice rejected resolutions opposing the practice of force feeding ducks and geese to produce foie gras, determining that the feeding technique had minimal adverse effects on the birds involved. In 2006, the AVMA sent a blue-ribbon panel to personally observe foie gras farming practices, and the panel recommended that the AVMA oppose the anti-foie gras resolution.
-A 2004 study in the Worlds Poultry Science Journal concluded that ducks and geese physiologically engage in a natural fattening phenomenon. Further, the study found that the feeding procedure produced neither physiological indicators nor behavioral responses indicating stress. It concluded foie gras was a non-harmful product to ducks. Stress levels in these studies were determined scientifically by taking of blood samples to measure the levels of corticosterone, a hormone released when birds are under stress, and by behavioral observation.
-A 2001 published scientific study measured the reactions of ducks and geese to the farmers who feed them on foie gras farms. There were no signs of avoidance in geese, and ducks displayed less avoidance to feeders than to unknown persons not performing any feeding. There was absolutely no aversion to the feeders over the course of the feeding process. Despite a normal avoidance in animals of stimuli associated with pain, ducks on foie gras farms show little or no avoidance of force feeding procedure.
-The AFA is happy to provide copies of scientific studies to those interested in learning the objective truth of the matter.
-Dr. Y.M. Saif, a delegate from the American Association of Avian Pathologists, found that mortality is low and that the feeding personnel are highly trained.
-Claims of exploding livers are simply outlandish. Neither the scientific reviews nor countless fact-finding missions to foie gras farms support any such claims.
2.Foie gras is a natural product
Ducks and geese naturally store fat in the liver for use as energy during long migratory flights. The fatty livers produced by foie gras are healthy and the effects are reversible. Claims that foie gras is diseased are preposterous and wholly unsupported by science. The artisanal duck farms and processing facilities comply with all state and federal regulations, including the rigorous food safety requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
-All foie gras sold in the U.S. must meet federal U.S.D.A. and state regulatory standards. In fact, each liver produced in the U.S. and sold into interstate commerce is inspected by a food safety inspector from the U.S.D.A. Federal law does not permit U.S.D.A. inspectors to approve diseased product.
-According to the World Poultry Science Journal, waterfowl have a spontaneous tendency to overfeed, a tendency which, at least for geese, is probably related to the pre-migratory behavior ancestors.
-Hepatic steatosis, the state in which large amounts of fat are stored in the waterfowl liver, is reversible. A November 2005 study subjected ducks to three cycles of two-week periods of force-feeding followed by four weeks of normal feeding. All morphological, chemical, biochemical and functional changes occurring during force-feeding reverted to normal levels once normal feeding
3. Foie gras is produced by small sustainable farms
American foie gras production is regulated, open and transparent. All 8 farmers producing foie gras for the U.S. (the Artisan Farmers Association) routinely invite observers to tour our farms and see for themselves how our small-scale, sustainable heritage farms bring artisanal foods to American dinner tables. Additionally, the production facilities are inspected and certified by the USDA and other government agencies.
If you would like to learn more about AFA and its activities, please visit the AFA website at www.artisanfarmers.org
-New York Times Op-Ed contributor Lawrence Downs visited Hudson Valley Foie Gras in 2005 and wrote that he saw no pain or panic in [the] ducks, no quacking or frenzied flapping in the cool, dimly lighted open pens . . . The birds submitted matter-of-factly to [the gavage.] ·In 2006, a blue ribbon panel of expert veterinarians from the American Veterinary Medical Association inspected Americas largest foie gras farm to assess animal welfare conditions. They were allowed to freely examine all aspects of the process, and found the farming operations to be humane and utilizing acceptable animal agriculture methods. The group was granted unfettered access and was allowed to videotape farming operations.
-Individuals interested in learning the truth about foie gras farming are welcome to tour the farms and witness the traditional artisanal farming methods used.
Food doesnt come from the supermarket. It comes to our tables because of the hard work of individual farmers. Americas foie gras farmers are no exception to that rule. They work hard to produce the finest product possible using traditional farming methods. While a single modern chicken plant may process more than one million birds a week, a foie gras farm in the U.S. may process as few as 500 birds a week. Though it is a small industry, however, foie gras farming serves as an important component of the rural economy in areas where the farms operate.
4. Economic impact
-It is estimated that the foie gras ban in Chicago will cost the city $18,464,597 in lost restaurant sales, lost related sales, lost sales tax revenue and lost tips.
-The New York State foie gras industry alone employs 500 people and has a total economic impact of $23 million.
-The production of foie gras has economic effects far larger than in the individual state where it is produced, encompassing .transportation workers who move the product to markets across the country, distribution warehouse employees, restaurant workers, advertising personnel who help sell the product and design the menus where it is served, employees of on-line marketers and others. Additionally, the US sells foie gras to foreign markets, thus boosting our export industry. - The Economic Importance of the New York State Foie Gras Industry
5. Don't tell me what to eat
While we certainly respect the right of any individual not to eat meat or other foods, we should also respect the choice made by the overwhelming majority of Americans to continue eating meat. Consumer choice should be respected by legislators, as should the choice of farmers who produce healthy animals.
-More than 99% of Americans have made a choice to continue eating animal products, and more than 96% of Americans eat meat. - Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG)
6 Slippery slope
The forces behind the misinformation campaign against foie gras have an extremist agenda. The duck farmers producing this artisanal product have not been attacked by extremists because their practices are cruel or outside the mainstream of animal agriculture. Theyve been singled out because they are a very small group without the resources to defend themselves against the food bullies whose ultimate goal is to ban meat consumption altogether. Foie gras is the only the beginning of the extremists efforts.
-The agenda of these food police is way outside the mainstream, on the absolute fringe. Dont take my word for it. Look at PETAs website or the websites of the other so-called animal rights groups. They are vehemently opposed to eating all meat, poultry, fish, milk, ice cream and other dairy products. Absurdly, they are even opposed to eating honey. They are opposed to pet ownership and medical research involving animals, even research that saves human lives.
-"If the death of one rat cured all diseases, it wouldn't make any difference to me. - Chris De Rose, Director, Last Chance for Animals ·"Arson, property destruction, burglary and theft are 'acceptable crimes' when used for the animal cause." - Alex Pacheco, Director, PETA ·Americas farmers and others involved in foie gras have been subjected to countless acts of vandalism and harassment.
-Animal rights extremists spray painted the home, and poured acid on and glued the locks of the car belonging to renown California chef Laurent Manrique in an anti-foie gras attack. Additionally, a videotape showing Manrique having dinner in his home with his family was left outside of his home by activists. Manrique, ultimately fearing his livelihood and safety, moved his family out of the country.
Duck Freedom Fighters broke into Sonoma Saveurs, a Sonoma, California restaurant that would serve foie gras, spray painted and filled drains with concrete, flooding the not-yet-opened cafe. Sonoma Foie Gras, Californias only foie gras farm, was also broken into, the ducks were set loose, and property was vandalized and defaced.