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Foie Gras Ban: Bourdain, Chefs, Restaurateurs Sound Off On Opponents' Aggressive Tactics

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The foie gras debate is heating up as certain protestors have adopted bullying tactics, sometimes illegal, to get their point across. And certain food industry professionals are sick of it. In an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mark Pastore, the owner of Incanto restaurant, condemns the use of "violent rhetoric." Pastore offers several examples of chefs and researchers that have been threatened and bullied by foie gras opponents. These incidents sometimes resulted in illegal actions, including arson and vandalism. He writes:

Sadly, not everyone understands the line between rhetoric and action. Gay bashing, abortion clinic bombings, and the murder of doctors who perform abortions have all been preceded by use of violent rhetoric intended to dehumanize the target. It's not possible to achieve a more humane world by using violent language to score political points. Doing so creates a legacy of hate, not humanity.

Pastore's partner, chef Chris Cosentino, has received death threats against him and his family.

Anthony Bourdain echoed Pastore's sentiments Friday in a series of remarks on Twitter:


Anthony Bourdain
Why I will always eat foie even though bored with it: spite.

Anthony Bourdain
Was laying off the California foie thing as a lost cause, but now these assholes are threatening my friends' families again.

Anthony Bourdain
Animal rights? And then you send telephoto shots of people's children to them? Threaten their families?

Anthony Bourdain
Every time a chef is threatened, someone should skin a panda.

Anthony Bourdain
Look at anti-foie tactics: anonymous threats. Arson. Vandalism. Extortion. Should use RICO statutes on these people.

While chefs have campaigned against the California law that bans the sale of foie gras beginning in July, their campaigns have been non-violent and mostly take the form of petitions, foie gras dinners and speaking to the media.

Of course, not all foie gras opponents employ violent tactics. But as is the case with any contentious political issue, the vocal minority tends to silence the views of other opinions worth sharing.



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