Yesterday news broke that the Basque government, amid pressures from an animal rights group, had sanctioned the restaurant Mugaritz and its foie purveyor, the small, family-owned Momotegi. Today, Andoni Luis Aduriz breaks his silence and publishes a petition in support of small producers. The document has already received over 500 signatures, including those of chefs Joan Roca, Juan-Mari and Elena Arzak, and Ferran Adrià.
The petition is titled "A Sanction, An Opportunity." In it, Aduriz writes against the "coercive methods" of the group Igualdad Animal and characterizes their decision to target Mugaritz as being motivated by a desire for press. The four-point proposal demands to open a debate that will ultimately protect small, artisanal producers that currently don't appear in legislation but are still subject to penalties from the government. There are no laws designed for small producers, and therefore Momotegi technically wasn't allowed to provide Mugaritz with its foie. Even if, as newspaper El País noted yesterday, the restaurant has a lab that analyzes the quality of all their products before use. Here are the four points translated into English (translation by Eater):
1. We demand laws that protect small, artisanal producers (as is the case in other countries around the world). These laws should also regulate means of production observing that excellence should be a goal.
2. We call on the government to conceive laws that emphasize sanitary production, the health of animals, and concerns for the environment, culture, and society.
3. We show our support for the restaurant Mugaritz. We share its standards for quality and its appreciation for the excellence of small producers. We support a model that understands food as an expression of culture.
4. We denounce the coercive methods animal rights organizations use in order to achieve their goals. Their ideas and objectives, as legitimate as they may be, cannot be sustained by campaigns based on discrediting others and manipulating images. To us, that's unacceptable, immoral, and unjust.