It's a battle of the hippies: Animal rights activists and chefs have been sparring over a piece of legislation that would ban foie gras from restaurant menus in California.
A fatty delicacy, foie gras is created by force feeding ducks and geese to create a plump and tender organ. Animal lovers argue that the force feeding, which ultimately results in an almost 10 times larger liver, is cruel and causes animals unusual emotional distress.
But the ingredient is common in area food establishments. Many local restaurants, including LaSalette and Santé have signature dishes which include foie gras. Moreover, California's only foie gras producer is in Sonoma County: Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras, whose owner Guillermo Gonzalez, told the New York Times that he'd be forced to shut down if the ban went through.
The ban, passed in 2004, is scheduled to take effect July 1. A group of more than 100 chefs signed a petition asking the legislature to reconsider before the ban takes effect.
But politicians are hesitant to back off of the controversial issue.
"I'm not going to allow an issue like that to preoccupy the legislature," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.