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Why Did WeHo Ban Foie Gras?

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Sauteed Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras -- photo by cchen via Flickr
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Who eats foie gras? Not West Hollywood restaurant-goers, at least not anymore. Despite the recent failure of Chicago's City Council to ban foie gras in that city, West Hollywood is charging ahead with a new city ordinance to prevent the sale of foie gras in restaurants.

However, I can't help but point out the short-sighted and ultimately unsatisfactory nature of this ruling. First of all, many West Hollywood restaurants are driven by a monied, sophisticated clientèle who are knowledgeable about food and expect quality ingredients. WeHo is a destination for foodies, and its restaurants shouldn't be punished for the tastes of their consumers. WeHo hosts a wonderful enclave of fine French and modern Californian restaurants -- Sona? Comme Ca? The Hall at Palihouse? Hatfield's? All are destinations, all serve fois gras. And will this trend spread? Will our finest restaurants, like La Cachette, become outdated relics of a more tolerant time?

Secondly, foie gras foes who decry the cruelty of the production method (force-feeding geese and ducks until their livers become fatty and engorged -- reminds me of college for some reason, except with alcohol) are overlooking -- or purposely ignoring -- the every day horrors of the food industry.

Why can't the City Councils of the world focus on eliminating salmonella in vegetables? Cramped and painful conditions for pigs, cows, and chickens all over California? Horrors are inflicted upon many, many animals -- to simply make an example of foie gras seems to miss the forest for the trees. Why can't they ordain that all restaurants must buy locally and organic, from cruelty-free producers?