Despite reluctance, several green cities ban foie gras from their receptions

“Scandal” for some, “Beautiful news” for the others. The banning of foie gras in receptions organized by ecological cities like Lyon, Strasbourg or Grenoble is reacting to the approach of the end of the year celebrations, even if these measures are not new. « Lhe foie gras is a product of breeding going completely against animal welfare “, justified the town hall of Lyon, questioned by Lyon Capital.

The municipality said Monday to the monthly that it would like “Broaden the dialogue around these questions, so that his initiative can be followed in restaurants to limit the service of foie gras as much as possible, or even stop it”.

However, she denies any call for a boycott. At the heart of a controversy over the unique meatless menu in school canteens at the start of the year, Grégory Doucet’s team clarified that they had neither the “The power or the will to encourage restaurateurs to change their menu”.

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Going almost unnoticed in September 2020, the decision of the Lyon environmental majority to ban foie gras during receptions was welcomed on Tuesday, December 7, by the animal rights organization PETA. This association closely monitors the policy of French town halls in relation to this traditional gastronomic specialty.

“Today, the tide is turning in France against this product of extreme cruelty, and commitments to no longer serve foie gras are linked, in particular by town halls contacted by PETA and its supporters”, declares the association in a press release welcoming a “Beautiful news for the palmipeds”.

“A French shame”

In addition to Lyon, PETA welcomes the ecological city hall of Strasbourg, which banned this product from its activities in July 2020. Next to Lyon, the socialist mayor of Villeurbanne, he took a similar measure in May 2021. In Grenoble, the liver gras disappeared from ceremonies in 2014.

“It’s a product based on the worst possible practices. It is not a French tradition, but rather a French shame to continue the production of foie gras ”, affirmed last November to France 3 Sandra Krief, municipal councilor of Grenoble, who has also withdrawn this product from the menus of school canteens. The candidate Europe Ecologie-Les Verts (EELV) for the presidential election, Yannick Jadot, reacted on Tuesday to this decision by recalling that “People look at France on the question of foie gras with great questions”.

PETA is also calling on the municipalities of Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Marseille, Montpellier and Nantes, “So that foie gras is never on the menu again at municipal events”.

In the name of the defense of French gastronomy, some denounce this measure. “Too bad for Lyon, the capital of gastronomy! “, regretted Monday in a tweet the former mayor of Lyon, Gérard Collomb. Chef Christophe Marguin, president of Toques blancs lyonnaises, denounced on BFM-TV a « coup de com » of the Lyonnais Greens.

For its part, the Interprofessional Committee of palmipeds with foie gras (Cifog) said Tuesday “Shocked and scandalized” by these decisions, qualified as“Offenses against all French producers who breed their animals with passion in the strictest respect for animal welfare”. “Some, like the mayor of Lyon, go so far as to call for a boycott in the restaurants of their city”, still supports Cifog.

“We are already weighed down by the health crisis, rising grain prices and bird flu. If now elected officials attack us, that sends a very bad signal to consumers ”, deplored in November Nicolas Lechner, president of the Gänzeliesel association which represents the eleven producers of Alsace.

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France lagging behind

For several years, environmental associations have denounced the production methods of this flagship product for the end of the year holidays. The animal rights association L214 calls for a ban on force-feeding geese and ducks, a compulsory practice for producing foie gras in France and which only exists in a handful of countries in the European Union. “Foie gras is one of the rare productions where an animal is deliberately made sick to remove its liver, which suffers from hepatic steatitis, provoked on purpose by force-feeding”, already denounced in 2017 Brigitte Gothière, co-founder of the association.

In December 2019, L214 denounced the practices of a producer of foie gras who threw live ducklings by the hundreds into a rendering tank, where they were starving and suffocated under the weight of their fellows. The foie gras from this Dordogne establishment, attached to the agricultural high school of Périgueux, was gold medalist in 2019 at the general agricultural competition.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers A breeding of breeding ducks questioned in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques: the state orders its closure

In August 2020, images shot in a breeding duck farm located in the town of Lichos, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, caused the closure of the establishment. The association calls on the Minister of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, to conduct an audit of all breeding duck farms and hatcheries in the foie gras sector, and to make all the conclusions public, at the image of what had been done for the slaughterhouse sector in 2016.

Some cities go further than French municipalities. New York has banned the marketing of foie gras from 2022. Several countries, such as the United Kingdom and Denmark, have gone so far as to ban the production of this product.

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Despite reluctance, several green cities ban foie gras from their receptions