'animal welfare' on Serious Eats

'SF Chronicle' Columnist Defends Foie Gras

In wake of recent foie gras debates in San Francisco, Caille Millner says, "Perhaps that's why Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, the bill's sponsor, didn't call me back—what can he say, really? That the world is a better place because San Francisco's offering a pat on the back to restaurants who stop serving foie gras? That keeping foodies from having too much happiness is a positive development? That it's OK to kill the ducks for their meat, but not their liver?"... More

Celebrity Chefs Cry Fowl

Across the pond, celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tackle the issues of animal welfare and "explore the horrors of intensive chicken farming" through the medium they know best: TV programs.... More

Awkward Moments With Paula Deen

Paula Deen's trademark cackle and urge to fry everything can be endearing. But her business partnership with Smithfield foods? Now that's offensive, at least for some animal rights activists in Washington this weekend. She was in town for the convention center's second annual Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining show, and during her first cooking demo—she had three, each of which were sold-out with more than 500 in attendance—protesters scattered about the crowd and started yelling out against Smithfield. "What's that they're saying?" She tried to zero in on chants but wasn't too successful in the huge auditorium. Security guards quickly yanked out the activists. They were dressed in average street clothes and got an early start that morning, protesting while in... More

Philly Foiesteak

Philadelphia is the site of the latest battleground involving foie gras. Following in the footsteps of Chicago and California, both of which have laws on the books to ban the sale and consumption of this French delicacy made from the fatted livers of geese and ducks, Philadelphia's city council will be debating a bill put forth by Councilman Jack Kelly that would ban the food from the City of Brotherly Love. An animal rights group called Hugs for Puppies is protesting area restaurants that continue to serve foie gras, while a group of local chefs has banded together as the Philadelphia Chefs for Choice to oppose the ban. (Does this imply that those opposed to a foie gras ban are... More

Shark Week Tastes Like Chicken

As I reported for the Washingtonian food blog yesterday, the Discovery Channel’s twentieth anniversary of Shark Week has some local restaurants hatching shark-themed menus. I like themes. And I like television specials on the migratory patterns of tiger sharks. But is noshing on the man-eating predator, well, kosher? Obi Sushi out in Reston, Virginia, is featuring shark fin soup, shark tempura sushi rolls, and a shark steak salad. Last year, they were joined by a smattering of eateries in Silver Spring, Maryland—conveniently near the Discovery Channel's world headquarters—that served shark-bait tar tar appetizers, grilled shark antichuchos (marinated shish kebabs), and other funky shark permutations. According to Obi Sushi spokeswoman Scotty Charneco, the fish "kinda tastes like chicken" and is pretty... More

Animal Rights Is Not the Same as Animal Welfare

Photographs by Robyn Lee Kim Severson's piece on the mainstreaming of the animal rights movement and its effect on what we eat is as nuanced, balanced, and thoughtful an article as I have ever read on the subject. The bottom line is this: Consumers who can afford it want the animals their meat and dairy products come from to be raised responsibly with a minimum of suffering by farmers who care about both the animals they are raising and the land they are raising the animals on. As Chicago-based chef Charlie Trotter said in the story, "Animal welfare has become more important because American gastronomic customers increasingly want to do right by the animals they eat." That's good business... More

In Cruelty-Free Dining, What About the Diners?

Humorist Brian Unger in his latest "Unger Report" on NPR: "While we're sticking up for the eaten, let us not forget the eaters in this new era of the cruelty-free restaurant.... Restaurants should cease killing lobsters by cutting them in half while they are still alive. But that lobster should be served while the customer is still alive. If food takes longer to arrive than the Iraq war to end, that's inhumane.... More

The New York Times Likes Puck's Pluck

The Old Gray Lady's editorial board gets behind the stance Wolfgang Puck is taking on cruelty-free dining. For one thing, Mr. Puck’s new standard will help correct a misimpression. Many diners assume that most of the cruelty in factory farming lies in producing foie gras and veal. But Americans consume vastly more chicken, turkey, pork and beef than foie gras and veal, and most of the creatures those meats come from are raised in ways that are ethically and environmentally unsound. Until recently, most Americans have been appallingly ignorant of how their food is produced. That is changing. And Mr. Puck’s gift for showmanship will help advance Americans’ knowledge that they can eat well and do right all at the... More

Wolfgang Puck Gives Up Foie Gras And Goes Cruelty-Free

It's a big deal when celebrity chefs turn their backs on foie gras, but Wolfgang Puck is going the extra mile by having all his businesses go cruelty-free: "He has directed his three companies, which together fed more than 10 million people in 2006, to buy eggs only from chickens not confined to small cages. Veal and pork will come from farms where animals are not confined in crates, and poultry meat will be bought from farmers using animal welfare standards higher than those put forth by the nation’s largest chicken and turkey producers. Mr. Puck has also vowed to use only seafood whose harvest does not endanger the environment or deplete stocks."... More

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