A Belgian animal welfare organization has sent the French president, François Hollande, samples of a vegetarian alternative to foie gras, the delicacy made from the fatty livers of ducks or geese.
“I am very happy to offer you a box of faux gras, a delicious vegetarian alternative to foie gras, which is cooked with truffles and Champagne. It is sold in most of Belgium’s supermarkets with sales reaching 160,000 jars a year," wrote Michel Vandenbosch, in a letter to Hollande.
Vandenbosch is president of Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA), based in Brussels. The organization says that sales of GAIA Faux Gras increased by 433 percent between 2009 and 2011, proving "there is no need to make an animal sick to entice the taste buds of gourmets."
In his letter to Hollande, Vandenbosch claimed that “the saved duck population approved” of this alternative to foie gras – a product that has recently been banned from sale and production in California. The letter stressed that the force-feeding of ducks caused many health problems for the bird, including liver failure and injury to the oesophagus.
GAIA underlined the fact that European regulations forbid any practices that “are sources of pain, anxiety or disease for ducks.” However, France and other foie gras-producing countries have been given an exemption by authorities while they find other means of fattening up the birds. "As yet, France has done nothing to meet this demand,” GAIA claims.
In addition, the French vegetarian group L214 has written an open letter to Hollande denouncing the force-feeding of caged birds, along with a DVD exposing the methods used by foie gras farmers in southwest France. L214 has called for a meeting between animal welfare groups and Hollande to discuss foie gras production.
- AFP with Wine Searcher staff