At a farm in southwest France, the president of France took a stand for one of his nation’s most indulgent exports: foie gras.
The delicacy, made from the fatty livers of force-fed ducks and geese, has been banned in California since July 1. Animal rights activists say foie gras production requires cruel treatment of the fowl; restaurateurs say the extravagant and expensive treat is a key component of their culinary repertoire.
But this week, President Francois Hollande vowed that he “would not let foie gras exports be jeopardized, especially in certain countries, or certain states in America,” according to the Independent, a British publication.
How? By sending gifts of foie gras to political leaders in the U.S. “for their own great enjoyment,” Hollande said at a foie gras farm in Monlezun. He also plans to invoke France’s free trade right to export a “good product,” which he said takes into account “health norms” and “animal comfort.”
More than 80% of the world’s foie gras is made in France – and most of it is consumed there too. Many French officials are worried that foie gras bans like the one in California could spread – similar laws are already in place in Italy, Britain and Germany.
Earlier in July, one French politician called for restaurants across France to stop serving California wines in protest of the Golden State’s foie gras ban.
“I call on all the restaurants in France that sell Californian wine to stop doing so in a show of solidarity for our foie gras makers and, more broadly, for all food makers,” said Philippe Martin, the president of the general council in the Gers in Gascony.