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Serve Fois Gras, Get Firebombed

by Jerre Wroble
Posted // 2010-07-08 - Human beings don't like being bullied into political correctness. We like to arrive at such notions by thinking them through. Americans, in particular, especially since 9/11, have that "bring it on" attitude when it comes to terrorist actions. We hope to defy their demands or intentions by doing exactly the opposite of what they want.

So when a local "slow food" style restaurant was recently torched by animal activists for the "crime" of serving fois gras, it makes me, a person who normally would never order the dish, want to request it the moment the restaurant is able to reopen its doors. The only problem is, I'm betting the owners of Tiburon in Sandy will quit serving the fatty liver treat because, hey, it's just not worth the bile.

Local restaurants that serve fois gras have increasingly become the target of picketing, threats and vandalism. Metropolitan, in downtown Salt Lake City, caved to pressure and took the fatty duck-liver pate off its menu more than a year ago.

An individual close to the Tiburon serving staff notes the restaurant recently was picketed by a small group professing to be anti-animal cruelty. So, Tiburon removed fois gras from its published menu but allegedly continued to serve it upon request.

According to our source, in the past month, an odd-looking dinner party came in and asked about any unpublished specials "beginning with the letter 'F.'" The unwitting server told them about the fois gras, which they ordered. When he came back to the table with the dish, the party had vanished but left a note stating they had been "audited."

According to media accounts, early Friday, July 2, Tiburon was set ablaze. Our anonymous source says a rock was used to break a window, after which the vandals broke into the restaurant, poured kerosene all over tables and chairs and attempted to start a fire, leaving dozens of spent matches on the floor. Someone walking by the restaurant before 8 a.m. smelled smoke and called the fire department. So, a fire that would have likely burned the place down only caused about $10,000 in damages and shut the restaurant down for a week. Our source says that most of the damage will be covered by insurance, and servers may receive some pay to offset the lost work time.

But anyone who's been through a fire knows the headache of smoke and water damage and the subsequent required sorting, cleaning, repainting, reupholstering, etc. Then there's the police and fire department interviews, the onslaught of attention by the media, the concern for employees out of work, worries about how to re-attract clientele. And all for the love of fatty duck liver?

Yesterday, ABC4 TV revealed it had received an email from an individual claiming the ALF was behind the fire: "The ALF (animal liberation front) is watching and there is nowhere to hide. The arson at the Tiburon restaurant in Sandy Utah was done because of there (sic) sale of Foie Gras (young duck) and other 'wild game'. Animals exist for there (sic) own purposes, not human ends. Go Vegan! ALF Lonewolf."

So, is eating fois gras (which involves fattening a duck by force feeding and caging it for the final three weeks of its life) the ultimate expression of cruelty? Sir Roger Moore of James Bond fame says it is. No Reservations' Anthony Bourdain says no way is it cruel (see videos below).

If it is cruel, how is eating fois gras more cruel than eating chicken or pork products, animals also raised in factory farm environments? Beef and dairy products have their own "cruel" streaks, if you want to go there.

So, assuming animal liberationists succeed in intimidating local restaurants into no longer serving fois gras, is pork the next target? Can factory chicken be far behind?

The ALF action, if it's legitimately theirs and not some other form of suburban mischief, represents a change in animal-liberation activism, as noted by activist Peter Young notes in his Voice of the Voiceless blog. The brave new world of "individual" action makes me fear for the future of locally owned dining establishments such as Tiburon, places that offer a unique menu of meats such as farmed elk and bison. Is the future of local dining going to involve a security guard going through our bags and having our bodies scanned before we can enter the establishment? Bars on the windows, attack dogs patrolling the grounds? If it is, I say, serve me up some fois gras.

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Posted // July 9,2010 at 14:55

The cruelty we humans place upon innocent creatures is astonding. The people who do this should have a pipe stuffed down their throats and force fed. If you care anything about animals please do the right thing and don't eat foie gras. Believe me there are no happy animals that are violently force feed in an effort to enlarge there livers so people can stuff their faces. I hope the people who eat Foie Gras choke on it. People continue to think of horrible ways to torture innocent creatures and this is one of of the worst.

Fed up with cruelty! Eat some hummus and show some love to all the innocent animals of the world.

Animal Lover


Posted // July 9,2010 at 17:32 - how egotistical of you to place human feelings and emotions on ducks and geese! Human throats and duck throats are not the same, so your argument and outrage are emotional not scientific. It is far to easy to justify violence by your emotional response to something you don't understand. I love hummus, but what of the poor insects that pollinate the chick peas? Are you not exploiting their hard work?!?!? What of the natural habitat of some poor creature that was tilled under to plant the olives, or garlic?!?!?! The Point is; Where Does It End????? I hope you choke on your hummus, because by your own argument you are as guilty as everyone who eats foie gras. I also love animals, and am opposed to cruel treatment of them, I try to eat only grass fed locally produced meat. I raise chickens for eggs and meat, and cultivate a quarter acre garden to help feed myself. More importantly I try to understand my food and where it comes from. Think of that next time you open a can of chick peas, where did they come from, where did the can come from?


Posted // July 9,2010 at 13:28

The bottom line is, if you feel foie gras is cruel, don't eat it. If it really bothers you don't eat at the restaurant that serves it.

But don't tell me what to do! I don't tell you what to eat, so stay out of my kithchen.

As to the comment about seeing animals slaughtered, I firmly believe this country lives in ignorant bliss. The majority of Americans don't know where their food comes from, or how it got on their plate. It is a sad reality that we are disconnected from our food. This is a much larger problem than whether foie gras is cruel.

So to see these cowardly, incompetent, silly ALFers take it out on a locally owned, community oriented restaurant like Tiburon is so maddening. Tiburon has a large garden where they grow their own produce, and consistently donate to local charities. Not to mention their food is awesome.


Posted // July 9,2010 at 09:43

Your ignoring the argument

the argument is that these ducks are handled and the feeding process is somehow inhumane and worse than any other aspect of factory farming. well it is CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT ARGUMENT IS PATENTLY FALSE, PERIOD!

the fact these duck are raised and yes slaughtered for human consumption is another argument all together. Too single out the duck/ foie gras is disingenuous, misleading and irresponsible

and lets be honest, its not that MOST people haven't seen an animal slaughtered, its the DON"T want to see it slaughtered.

people want that steak ruby red like that under ripe disgusting tomato, and want to be blissfully unaware while they consume it


Posted // July 9,2010 at 07:50!

that might be the dumbest comment i have ever read on this or any other subject. Of course the duck is slaughtered, along with millions and millions of other factory farmed animals raised for human consumption every day. If your problem is the duck is slaughtered then you can in no way single out the duck/foie gras farms.

That isn't just the 'happiest foie gras farm' on the planet, but one of the TWO farms in this country. Its not like Bourdain went around and picked the best amongst thousands, it was one or the other, he just happened to choose the farm he purchases from on the east coast vs. the other in Northern California which supplies the west coast.

Here's the bottom line: The Ducks raised for Foie Gras are BY FAR the best treated factory farmed animals in this country. They are fed no hormones and given 4 to 5 times the space per bird to live than any other fowl (chicken, turkey). The force feeding process takes less than 2 minutes of its entire life...TWO MINUTES, not a day, not at a time, of its life. The entire bird, its liver, its breast and thigh meat, its feathers and its bones are used, again unlike any other factory farmed fowl (chicken, turkey).

As to the feeding and fattening process: first a duck breathes thru two holes in the tip of its tongue so it can breath during the 6 or so seconds its force fed. A ducks neck/throat is lined with collagen, it is designed to swallow small fish whole, the tube is no different, the duck doesn't experience any pain, or sensation different than when he occasionally finds a nice swimming snack in the wild. Also a ducks liver is predisposed to increase in size, prior to migration a duck in the wild will over eat, fattening itself up for its flight. The Liver is in no way diseased, if the feeding process ended the liver would return to its normal size. The enlarged Liver does not kill the duck, nor does it render it unable to move. These ducks (farmed on the two farms in US) are not kept in small cages unable to move, even during the final days of its life.

The TRUTH is when it comes to factory farming animals for human consumption these ducks are treated better and with more respect than those tomatoes your buying all winter in the grocery store: picked green, shipped all over the country and gassed to turn a nice ruby red, consumed under ripe with no flavor or nutritional value! Not to mention that steak you had for dinner: A cow shot so full of hormones it wont get sick from the 90 days of corn and grain its fed to make it nice and fat and flavorful, you know CORN and GRAIN two items it would never normally eat. Or that nice healthy boneless skinless chicken breast: grown in a cage with 11 other birds with less than 6 cubic inches per bird, again shot full of hormones its t breasts grow 2 to 3 times there normal size. Not to mention the cages are stacked on top of each other and the birds defecate on one another and their beaks are clipped so they wont eat one another.

Do I really need to go on? I could tell you all about the factory farmed Turkey 95% of americans are going to have for thanksgiving dinner in November. MMMM the Butterball, which is just code for 'oil injected!

These terrorists choose Foie Gras as a lightning rod because its an easy target. A relatively small niche product that is limited in consumption. Not because they believe its raised, treated, farmed, or slaughtered any different than any other factory farmed animal. They believe because you cant pronounce it, and relatively few consume it will garner them support. They believe that burning a business where hard working (and in this economy employed Americans) are doing nothing more than busting there butts to feed there kids and make their house payments is the only way to make there OPINIONS known. Well here’s a news-flash: We know their opinions, they scream them load and clear and everyone can hear. I/We/Most just happen to disagree, and isn't that a wonderful thing, if we were all the same, thought the same, did the same, liked the same etc the world sure would be a boring place. Just some of are capable of understanding and accepting our differences, even encourage them.

And others? well they seem to feel the need to demand we think just like them, believe what they believe and are willing to engage in illegal terrorist activities to force us to think and be like them. And I find that sad and pathetic!


Posted // July 9,2010 at 09:24 - That still doesn't change anything, nor make your response any better. Explain how a few hundred ducks being killed daily, in a method that is at least as humane as all those animals providing meat at the megamart, creates an issue that is anything other than a pimple on the elephant of factory faming. More animals are killed there in worse conditions in an hour than all the foie gras to be slaughtered in years. Sorry, your argument is still specious.


Posted // July 9,2010 at 08:51 - Most people have never seen animals being slaughtered; when they do, most have very dramatic, negative reactions. You watch Bourdain's video and its like the happy ducks shit foi gras and giggle while its coming out. If it's totally ethical and moral to slaughter them, why not show it because obviously its a big part of the process?