We received a PR release the other day from LeShop , Migros’ home food delivery web site, that they are no longer going to be selling traditionally raised (with the gavage method  of force-feeding) foie gras to German speaking Switzerland. This didn’t come about because of government legislation, but apparently was a decision made by Migros, following the results of customer surveys which were overwhelmingly against gavage.
Indeed if I put in my postal code (which is in German speaking Switzerland) before browsing around LeShop’s site, the traditional foie gras doesn’t even show up. Only a non-gavé version of foie gras shows up. (It looks suspiciously like liverwurst, but I’ll reserve judgement.) Non-gavé basically means that instead of being force-fed, the geese (or ducks) have been gently persuaded to feed. (Maybe they should be sat down in front of a TV with a remote control too.)
Migros is just one store, but anyone who lives in Switzerland knows how much they dominate here, so it’s quite a big deal when they stop selling something for ethical/political reasons.
It all seems a little bit silly though, since you could just go over to to French speaking (or I guess, Italian speaking) Switzerland, or even France, to get a lobe of gavé foie gras if you wanted to. (Strasbourg, which is one place known for good foie gras, is just 2 hours by train from Basel.) Non-chain comestibles stores in the area are probably going to continue to sell it for the time being too, and no word yet on what Coop will do. Besides, I wonder how many of those customers surveyed actually have had real foie gras to start with. The results of the survey cold have been influenced by a recent feature on gavage that was shown the leading consumer reports show on SF DRS, the leading Swiss German TV channel, though I’m not sure if the survey was taken before or after that show.
But I guess the decision was made, either for the sake of P.R or for genuine ethical considerations. In any case, I’m now very curious about this non-gavé foie gras, and will try it soon and report back.
I must say I am not necessarily gnashing my teeth over the foie gras issue, for selfish reasons: I like foie gras well enough, but I wouldn’t kill for it. I like it in its simplest form, poached and sliced, preferably served cold. All those fancy patés and seared foie gras and whatever…don’t do much for me. Now if we were talking about caviar or toro…