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Humane foie gras

 
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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A thread on sustainable aquaculture led me to another excellent lecture: the same chef shares the best culinary experience of his life. A farm that is so good for geese, wild ones stop their migration and join the farm population; instead of force feeding, Eduardo Sousa makes sure there are enough figs, olives, and lupine seeds around that the geese eat more than their confined counterparts.

The lupine was important, because it gives the foie gras the bright yellow color chefs have been schooled to look for; actually, a brighter color, because yellow lupine produces a stronger pigment than commodity corn. With that development, he won first prize in the authoritative worldwide competition for the stuff.

I strongly recommend the video, if bandwidth allows.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_s_surprising_foie_gras_parable.html
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I couldn't wait to post this, so I paused it and posted...the last third has an interesting larger connection, where industrial agriculture is traced back to slavery in Egypt, and forceful methods are called "an insult to history." It's a more powerful lecture than I had realized.
 
steward
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friends of mine wandered around France for a honeymoon last year.  they stayed at a place that produced foie gras in a similar manner, though the food may have come from different plants.  they said the critters were clearly very content with the arrangement.  until the end, of course, as I imagine they would prefer to keep their livers.
 
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Location: Toronto Canada
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i have been a Chef for 25 years and remember reading a study that reported on wild geese gorging themselves on grains and seeds naturally, so sure why not? could be a pre migratory, prepatory, behavioral adaptation to store energy for the flight.  and i think that in olden times the goose herding maidens massaged their necks so as to allow them to maximize their natural desires. they are gulleting their food down getting energy stored quickly as nature intended, we reap the richness of that stored goodness when we harvest them, Yummy, lucky us!!
 
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I find inspiration in this lecture and tend to go back and watch it from time to time , to really look at how the systems can be set up so each facet compliments each other. 
I truly believe if you are going to keep animals , even in food production , it is always better if they are happy with their environment.  I believe their interactions and relationships are important too.  My animals thrive on positive interactions.  So every day I make a point of physically petting, scratching, talking to each of them and telling them they are good. 
 
gardener
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Great presentation - I just love TED, always thought provoking.

We can see the sometimes hidden benefits of animal husbandry -  as in the joy caring for and watching animals brings to human beings, and sharing his olives and figs with the geese returns fertilization and plant/grass trimming making his trees happy.  He's got a complete system, and it's beautiful.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Leif Kravis wrote:
i have been a Chef for 25 years and remember reading a study that reported on wild geese gorging themselves on grains and seeds naturally, so sure why not? could be a pre migratory, prepatory, behavioral adaptation to store energy for the flight.  and i think that in olden times the goose herding maidens massaged their necks so as to allow them to maximize their natural desires. they are gulleting their food down getting energy stored quickly as nature intended, we reap the richness of that stored goodness when we harvest them, Yummy, lucky us!!



Yes, he mentions this in the lecture (all except the neck massage part). He also goes into the invention of gavage: legend has it, it was a way to satisfy a pharaoh's demand for unnatural amounts of the stuff.
 
                    
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I love that video!  His other ted talk about estuaries becoming a profitable fish raising business is really great too.  We CAN feed the world sustainably, dangit.  I really get riled when people suggest otherwise. 
 
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