Singapore's World Gourmet Summit Draws Controversy Over Foie Gras

The World Gourmet Summit, held in Singapore this April, came under a lot of fire and controversy for its decision to feature foie gras.

Animal activists, including Singapore-based AnimalWatch, criticized the inclusion of the delicacy on the grounds that its production is cruel. Activists maintain that geese and duck are cruelly force fed in order to fatten up the livers of the animals. Group such as Advocates for Animals, World Society for the Protection of Animals, Compassion in World Farming, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, also wrote letters to the organizers of the World Gourmet Summit asking them to drop foie gras off the menu.

Despite the protests, Summit organizers Peter Knipp Holdings and the Singapore Tourism Board decided to go ahead with the foie gras dinner.


Foie gras on Singapore feast menu despite protest from animal rights body. AFP, April 2, 2003.

Animal rights groups slam summit over ‘inhumane’ dish. Melissa Lwee, The Straits Times, April 4, 2003.

Smithsonian Caves to Fear, Cancels Foie Gras Presentation

Animal rights advocates had
been targeting the Smithsonian Institute for several weeks after it announced
plans to hold a program called “Foie Gras: A GourmetÂ’s Passion”
on Sept. 21. Foie Gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese. Animal
rights groups maintain the practice is cruel.

Rather than citing its agreement
with this argument, however, the Smithsonian cited concern for the safety
of visitors as the main reason for canceling the program. “Because
we are always concerned with the well-being of our participants, we have
regretfully concluded that it would be in the best interests of everyone
involved to cancel the program,” said Mara Mayor, director of the
Smithsonian Associates. Michael Gilnor, owner of Hudson Valley Foie Gras
and a scheduled speaker for the event, accused the animal rights groups
of inciting fear of violence to force the Smithsonian to cancel the program.

“What these people are
doing are terrorist acts,” said Gilnor. “They use means that
are close to terrorists but without the blood.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, one of the main groups opposing the program, said it has never
engaged in terrorism. “We have made no threats whatsoever,”
said Michael McGraw. “We would most likely dress up as ducks or geese and
hold up signs.” Of course they might also decide to light bales of
hay on fire in an act of arson as happened in two recent PETA protests.
Still McGraw is technically correct that PETA doesnÂ’t commit terrorist
acts – they just show up conveniently after terrorist acts have been committed
and provide legal and financial support for terrorists.