Spanish restaurant Magaritz fined for buying unlicensed foie gras

17 December 2012 by
Spanish restaurant Magaritz fined for buying unlicensed foie gras

Celebrated Spanish restaurant Mugaritz has been fined for buying foie gras from an unlicensed producer.

Andoni Luis Aduriz, chef proprietor of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Errenteria in the Basque Country, bought his foie gras from nearby Momotegi, a small, family-run farm.

As there are no laws governing small producers in the Basque Country, Momotegi was not legally entitled to provide Mugaritz with its foie gras.

Animal rights' campaigners Igualdad Animal said Momotegi broke laws and inflicted cruel deaths on its birds, which were force-fed and slowly bled to death.

However, Aduriz said he was proud to pay the fine and for making a stand in supporting local farmers who produce the best quality foie gras on smallholdings that cannot obtain licences.

The chef has since launched a petition is called "A Sanction, An Opportunity", which has received more than 1,200 signatures, including those from three-Michelin-starred chefs Joan Roca, Juan-Mari and Elena Arzak, and Aduritz erstwhile mentor Ferran Adrià.

In the document, Aduritz warns against the "coercive methods" of Igualdad Animal blaming their targeting Mugaritz as wanting to grab headlines. He also calls for the protection of small, artisanal producers, who don't appear in current legislation but are nonetheless subject to penalties from authorities.

Aduriz's petition states:

1. We demand laws that protect small, artisanal producers (as is the case in other countries around the world). These laws should also regulate means of production observing that excellence should be a goal.

2. We call on the government to conceive laws that emphasize sanitary production, the health of animals, and concerns for the environment, culture, and society.

3. We show our support for the restaurant Mugaritz. We share its standards for quality and its appreciation for the excellence of small producers. We support a model that understands food as an expression of culture.

4. We denounce the coercive methods animal rights organizations use in order to achieve their goals. Their ideas and objectives, as legitimate as they may be, cannot be sustained by campaigns based on discrediting others and manipulating images. To us, that's unacceptable, immoral, and unjust.

Translation taken from

Extracts from Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking >>

By Kerstin KÁ¼hn

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