By Luis Miguel Pascual
Paris, Dec 9 (EFE).- Several French cities have taken foie gras off the menu of official events this year in a fresh blow to the iconic but divisive staple of the country’s gastronomy, which is produced by force-feeding birds to artificially fatten their livers.
The mayors of the cities of Lyon, Strasbourg and Grenoble have all backed a measure to remove the pâté from official events, ceremonies and banquets.
Although foie gras (“fat liver,” in English) has been listed as part of France’s national and gastronomic heritage since 2006, its production is banned by countries including Denmark, the United Kingdom and Australia on the grounds of animal cruelty.
The outcry against foie gras production has started to spread across France, too, where the product is considered a national symbol and a staple of Christmas cuisine.
The news of the boycotts has shaken an industry that docks three-quarters of its yearly sales during the festive period.
“It is a blow to our trade, but also to all French gastronomy,” Marie-Pierre Pé, president of the Interprofessional Committee of Foie Gras (CIFOG), told Efe.
“We are not afraid of the drop in sales, but we are afraid of the damage to our reputation. It is a senseless attack, orchestrated by radical people who advocate an extreme vegetarian diet,” says Pé.
Animal rights group PETA, which has for years denounced the conditions in which geese are treated to artificially inflate their liver, is behind the campaign to end foie gras production in France
The initiative found its first high-profile advocate in Strasbourg councilor Jeanne Barseghian, one of the environmentalist politicians who rose to power with the green wave that washed across the country in the 2020 municipal elections.