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Over 100 CA Chefs Sign Anti-Foie Gras Ban Petition

Photo: CHEFS, Eater LA

Over 100 big name California chefs including Thomas Keller, Chris Cosentino, and Ludo Lefebvre have signed a petition protesting the state's upcoming July 1 foie gras ban. The group, which calls itself the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards, has proposed alternate rules that would allow for the sale of foie gras but, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "require farmers to raise geese and ducks in a cage-free environment, minimize stress, and use feeding methods that do not harm the bird's esophagus or beak."

California state Senator John Burton, who backed the original ban legislation, told the Chronicle, "I'd like to sit all 100 of them down and have duck and goose fat - better yet, dry oatmeal- shoved down their throats over and over and over again." Well, that is perhaps a bit extreme, but the guy sure is committed to his position, isn't he?

Meanwhile, the collection of chefs who have signed the petition reads like roll call of California's best chefs, several of whom have already spoken to Eater on the subject of the ban. One chef who is not on the list? Wolfgang Puck. Writes the LA based chef, "The science is so clear that countries throughout Europe, as well as in Israel - which used to be the world's No. 4 producer - have banned force-feeding for foie gras."

Here is the list of chefs and their proposed rules for foie gras production in California, as posted by ISSF:

California Charter for Hand Feeding of Ducks and Geese

· Audits: Each farm must follow a set of specific humane protocols, including every point addressed in this charter, and submit to regular inspections by independently certified animal welfare experts to ensure compliance.

· Hand feeding: Farmers must use industry optimum equipment to feed the ducks using methods that do not cause harm to the esophagus or beak. Periodic exams must confirm the safety of the procedures.

· Animal Health Care Professional: Farms will schedule regular visits by an Animal Health Care Professional to assess the general health and living conditions of the birds. This is to be incorporated as a protocol, and frequency is to be determined by USDA inspection results.

· USDA inspection: Each bird must be inspected for good health by a USDA approved officer at the time of slaughter.

· Caretakers: Must be properly trained and adequately supervised. They must be gentle and calm in their gestures and movement.

· Mobility: Birds are to be raised in an environment that helps build and maintain strength in their legs and overall good health.

· Optimization: Birds are to be hand-fed in a manner that is adapted to their age and size. Each bird will be checked prior to feeding to evaluate its capacity so that the amount of feed may be optimized as opposed to maximized.

· Living conditions: Birds will be kept in comfortable conditions to minimize stress and maximize comfort at each stage. Appropriate lighting will be provided. Birds will have continual access to clean water. All barns will be kept at suitable temperatures consistent with each area’s specific weather conditions.

· Cage Free: Beginning January 1, 2017, birds may not be housed or fed at any time in cages that restrict the bird’s ability to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend its wings.

· Predators and pests: Appropriate measures must be implemented to keep predators, rodents and pests away from birds, and should include regular visits by professional pest control services.

The chefs who have signed the petition so far:

Matthew Accarrino, SPQR, San Francisco
Peter Armellino, Plumed Horse, Saratoga
John Ash, John Ash and Co. Restaurant, Santa Rosa
Manuel Azevedo, La Sallette, Sonoma
Jeff Banker, Baker and Banker, San Francisco
Daniel Barron, Evolve Cuisine, San Diego
Michael Beck, The Valley Hunt Club, Pasadena
Ian Begg, Txoko, San Francisco
Mark Berkner, Taste, Plymouth
Jason Berthold, RN74, San Francisco
Jan Birmbaum, Epic Roasthouse, San Francisco
Chris Borges, Taste, San Francisco
Pajo Bruich, Lounge ON20, Sacramento
Sean Chaney, Hot’s Kitchen, Hermosa Beach
Cory Chen, Yan Can Asian Bistro, Santa Clara
Michael Chiarello, Bottega, Yountville
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Josiah Citrin, Melisse, Santa Monica
John Clark, Foreign Cinema, San Francisco
David Coleman, Michael on Naples, Long Beach
Chris Cosentino, Incanto, San Francisco
Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Dave Cruz, Ad Hoc, Yountville
Greg Daniels, Haven Gastropub, Orange
Gary Danko, Gary Danko, San Francisco
Traci Des Jardins, Jardiniere, San Francisco
Mark Dommen, One Market, San Francisco
Vinny Dotolo, Animal, Hollywood
Michael Dotson, Martins West, Redwood City
Lissa Doumani, Ame Restaurant, San Francisco
Didier Dutertre, Bistro Moulin, Monterey
Scott Ekstrom, Angele Restaurant, Napa
Joey Elenterio, Chez TJ, Mountain View
Elizabeth Falkner, Citizen Cake, San Francisco
David Feau, The Royce, Pasadena
Tyler Florence, Wayfare Tavern, San Francisco
Ken Frank, La Toque, Napa
Alain Giraud, Maison Giraud, Pacific Palisades
Mark Gold, Eva Restaurant, Los Angeles
Matthew Gordon, Urban Solace, San Diego
Molly Hawks, Hawks Restaurant, Granite Bay
Rory Herrman, Bouchon, Beverly Hills
Bruce Hill, Picco, San Francisco
Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville
Philippe Jeanty, Bistro Jeanty, Yountville
Victor Jimenez, The Cowboy Star, San Diego
Laurence Jossel, Nopa, San Francisco
Yuko Kaji, CHAYA Brasserie, San Francisco
Douglas Keane, Cyrus, Healdsburg
Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Napa
Adam Keough, The Absinthe Group, San Francisco
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Saint Helena
Mourad Lahlou, Aziza, San Francisco
Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
Ludo Lefebvre, LudoBites, Los Angeles
Robbie Lewis, Bon Appetit Management Co., San Francisco
Emily Luchetti, Waterbar, San Francisco
Rafael Lunetta, JiRaffe, Santa Monica
Doug MacFarland, Ramekins, Sonoma
Michel Malecot, The French Gourmet, San Diego
Walter Manzke, Republique Restaurant, Los Angeles
Joey Miller, Joe’s Restaurant, Venice Beach
Michael Mina, Michael Mina Restaurant Group, San Francisco
Matthew Mullowney, La Toque, Napa
Patrick Mulvaney, Mulvaney’s BandL, Sacramento
Nancy Oakes, Boulevard, San Francisco
Pascal Olhats, Brasserie Pascal, Newport Beach
Ryan O’Melveney Wilson, Five Crowns and Side Door, Corona Del Mar
Norman Owens, Hot Box Grill, Sonoma
Ileah Paolinelli, Claudine, San Francisco
Robert Pascucci, Ariccia Italian Market, La Jolla
Roland Passot, La Folie, San Francisco
Cindy Pawlcyn, Mustards, Napa
Charles Phan, The Slanted Door, San Francisco
Tim Quaintance, Boulevard, San Francisco
Richard Reddington, Redd, Yountville
Xavier Salomon, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
Otto Sanchez, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Michael Sandoval, Bouchon, Yountville
Victor Scargle, Lucy at Bardessono, Yountville
Daniel Scherotter, Palio D’Asti, San Francisco
Randall Selland, Selland Family Restaurants, Sacramento
Jon Shook, Son of a Gun, Los Angeles
Josh Silvers, Petite Syrah, Santa Rosa
Hiro Sone, Terra, Napa
Joachim Splichal, Patina, Los Angeles
Staffan Terje, Perbacco, San Francisco
Michael Thiemann, Ella Dining Room and Bar, Sacramento
Josh Thomsen, Meritage at the Claremont, Berkeley
Ken Tominaga, Hana Japanese, Rohnert Park
Michael Tusk, Quince Restaurant, San Francisco
Dustin Valette, Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg
Stephane Voitzwinkler, Bertrand at Mister A’s, San Diego
Joanne Weir, Copita, Sausalito
Dakota Weiss, W Los Angeles, Los Angeles
Micha Wexler, Mezze Restaurant, Los Angeles
Andrew Wilson, Carneros Bistro, Sonoma
Matthew Woolf, Hotel Angeleno, Joie de Vivre, Los Angeles
Sang Yoon, Father’s Office, Los Angeles
Hoss Zare, Zare Fly Trap, San Francisco
Marc Zimmerman, Alexander’s, San Francisco
Noah Zonca, The Kitchen, Sacramento

· Foie Gras Chefs Hungry For Fight Against Ban [San Francisco Chronicle]
· California Chefs Join Forces to Fight Foie Gras Ban [ISSF]
· All Foie Gras Coverage on Eater [-E-]