NewsA delicate matter

A delicate matter

For many people in France it is part of Christmas. Foie gras is now becoming a political issue

Of course, it’s just a symbolic decision: in Lyon, France, foie gras is no longer served on official occasions. The city of gourmets is joining pioneers such as Grenoble and Strasbourg, where green mayors also rule. The uproar followed quickly. The star chef from Lyon, Christophe Marguin, furiously added a second menu of foie gras to the menu at his restaurant, Le Président. Because the subject of duck liver – rarely goose liver – is as explosive in France as a pressure cooker. The French are also seeing that more and more cities and countries around the world are banning the ominous foie gras for cruelty to animals – New York from around 2022. In Germany, duck stuffing is banned, but the sale of foie gras is not.

Liver food is a cultural heritage

In Paris, foie gras has been an official part of the national cultural heritage since 2016. France produces and consumes 20,000 tonnes of foie gras a year, around three quarters of world sales. The liver delicacy comes first on 79 percent of French menus for the festive season, according to a recent survey by the foie gras producers’ association Cifog. It was not entirely by chance that it became known after the decision of the green city government of Lyons.

Amazingly, the foie gras issue will now also be a topic of the French presidential election in four months’ time. Perhaps also because the animal welfare organization Peta not only congratulated the green mayor, but also calculated that the amount of corn that the geese had drilled corresponds to a human consumption of twelve kilos of pasta a day. The conservative presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse could no longer hold back: “Being French”, she railed, also means eating foie gras on festive days. It is as French as the Christmas tree, the Miss France election and the Tour de France.

The center democrat François Bayrou, an ally of Emmanuel Macron, also rushed to the aid of the President: The goose-stuffing is much more animal-friendly today than it was a few years ago, lectured the duck-breeder neighbor in the French Basque Country. No, it is still “a horror”, contradicts Hélène Thony, candidate of the small animal protection party.

The question is difficult for the candidate of the Greens, Yannick Jadot. When asked by journalists, he sighed deeply before giving his creed: “I eat fatty liver”, he said, pointing out that he does not serve any industrially produced foie gras, only “artisanal” foie gras.

The open-air ducks would also be stuffed, animal rights activists object. At least the drakes; the female chicks are less productive and are mostly destroyed. A laboratory near Toulouse has therefore recently developed a process that does not require a plug. It is said to allow a natural increase in the liver thanks to the release of enzymes. However, the costs are so high that commercialization is out of the question for the time being.

Finally there is the vegan version of foie gras, consisting of mushrooms, soy, lentils, nuts and cognac. It is finding its way onto the shelves more and more in countries like Belgium, but not in France. So the chances are good that foie gras will continue to be served in the Elysée Palace even after the upcoming election.

Arbor Day: "Nature is the greatest artist"

Gerhard Reusch transforms her works into abstract and surreal images. The Aschaffenburg artist photographs the bark of native trees.

Hay fever: Something is blooming again!

Spring is finally beckoning in all its glory. But that's exactly the problem: cabaret artist Anne Vogd has hay fever.

"Inventing Anna" on Netflix – wasted potential

The Netflix series "Inventing Anna" puts accents in the wrong place and waters down a suspenseful crime. The "Next Episode" series column.

ARD crime scene from Hamburg: The transparent "tyrant murder"

Today's Hamburg crime scene "Tyrannenmord" of the ARD with Wotan Wilke Möhring has no time for the big questions.

Curved Things

About snake smugglers, snake lines and a rare phobia.