Greedy Geese

Once upon a time when you wanted a hunk of pâté de foie gras, you had to harden your heart to the thought of gavage, the force-feeding by funnel that swelled the lobes of the goose’s liver into such a divinely fat-plumped pillow.

But now, as reported by the BBC in a story about the city of York following Chicago’s lead in banning the stuff as inhumane, the Spanish company Pateria de Sousa is touting ethical foie gras made from the livers of its “greedy geese.” With migration on their minds, these geese—which roam freely around the farm—stuff themselves voluntarily, no funnel required.

Write Claire Heald and Diarmuid Mitchell in the BBC’s news magazine, “Spain, a country not renowned for its love of animals, has come up with what could be foie gras’s Holy Grail. It’s not exactly guilt-free —vegetarians look away now, the goose still gets the bullet —but without being force fed first.”

Their livers don’t reach quite the fat saturation level of their French counterparts, but the resulting foie gras was good enough to win the prestigious Coup de Coeur award at the Paris International Food Salon.

Posters on the BBC site are less than convinced of the point of making foie gras at all, however. Writes Steve Shaw of Bristol, “Cycling thousands of tonnes of grain through suffering animals in order to produce a tiny amount of snob-munch is a practice as backward as any I can think of.”

Over at the Guardian, columnist Matthew Fort wonders why the government of York isn’t spending more time fighting the “gavage of modern eating habits” in humans. But on Chicago Foodies, Josh has dubbed Pateria de Sousa “the problem solvers” of his tongue-in-cheek Foie-Gras Protection Movement.

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