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Food / Wine

Debat on the French Foie gras

By Amelie Ducauroy

Foie gras in the French culture
Article extracted from The Independent 22/10/05

Foie gras is a travesty for some, a delicacy for others. But for French politicians it is part of France's cultural heritage, to be protected like a great work of art.

Indeed, the problem is that animal rights groups oppose the force-feeding of ducks and geese needed to make the gourmet product that is a specialty of south-west France. The politicians did not shy away from telling it like it is, defining Foie Gras as "the emblematic element of the French gastronomy and culture".

The move comes amid growing criticism of the method used to obtain foie gras - stuffing the duck or goose for a 10-day period to fatten the liver and create the unctuous pâté. However, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, which fights cruelty to animals, called it "veritable torture for geese and ducks", and asked consumers to stop eating foie gras - a mainstay of the French Christmas season.

Laying out the amendment, French deputies gave a nod to detractors, but concluded  that their concerns were untenable. Research shows "in an incontestable way" that claims of cruelty are untrue, they said.
They finally concluded that the product "perfectly fulfils" criteria defining the national patrimony "and the link to terroir [land] that characterises the originality of the French food model".

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