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Wolfgang Puck Bans Foie Gras

After a tumultous awards season, when a Hepatitis A scare from Wolfgang Puck's catering company swept through the Los Angeles party circuit, the chef announced today that he's all anti-animal cruelty. From an article in today's LA Times:

If the plan is carried out as promised, it means no foie gras — fatty liver produced by overfeeding ducks and geese — would be served at Spago or any of Puck's 14 other fine-dining restaurants. Spago's famous weiner schnitzel would be made exclusively using veal from roaming, not shackled, calves. Eggs to make souffles and custards would come only from hens that have lived cage-free. And lobsters for Chinois' renowned Shanghai lobster would be removed from their ocean traps quickly to arrive at his restaurant without spending time in overcrowded holding tanks.
Our first thought: Why now? Couldn't have been a demand by Beyonce, just one celeb served the Hep A-laced food at an event in February---she loves the fur. Puck says he's been planning the move for years, especially after humane groups started targeting his dining empire. But really it's because Spago celebrates 25 years in the business this year, and he wants to draw attention to the restaurant by touting a good cause. And there's no better publicity than banning foie gras?just ask Chicago.
· Puck says it's time to hold the foie gras [LAT]

Alyson Bodai
Outreach Manager
Factory Farming Campaign
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St., NW
Washington, DC 20037

Animal Welfare Has a Place at Wolfgang Puck's Table
Nation's largest animal protection organization applauds chef Wolfgang Puck for implementing landmark animal welfare improvements.

WASHINGTON, DC (March 22, 2007)—The Wolfgang Puck Companies have implemented an historic animal welfare program that's the first of its kind. The Humane Society of the United States applauded Wolfgang Puck's nine-point program aimed at raising the bar on farm animal treatment and curbing many of the worst cruelties associated with factory farming. These new standards cover all Wolfgang Puck lines of business including fine dining group restaurants, express franchises, catering and events, and consumer products.

"The HSUS commends Wolfgang Puck, his chefs, and his entire executive team for their ushering in of these historic animal welfare reforms. This voluntary program—the most far-reaching and comprehensive we have yet seen in the restaurant industry—will improve the lives of countless farm animals," stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "Wolfgang Puck's policies send a strong message to the agribusiness industry that it needs to start phasing out its most abusive practices."

Master chef and company owner Wolfgang Puck stated, "I have regularly spent weekends at my local farmers markets and farms, getting to know my vendors, their animals and their animal treatment programs. As my companies have grown much bigger, we must now develop formal policies to maintain our exacting standards. I want to be certain that only animals who are able to freely engage in natural behaviors are used to provide the products for our tables. If consumers could see how abused these animals can be, they would demand change."

Wolfgang Puck's nine-point program, created in conjunction with The HSUS and Farm Sanctuary, will be fully implemented for all Wolfgang Puck companies, starting with the 14 fine dining restaurants, by the end of 2007. The nine points include the following:

1. Wolfgang Puck has now eliminated foie gras from the menu of all of its dining establishments. Foie gras is produced by force-feeding ducks or geese to the point where their livers swell up to ten times their normal size.

2. Wolfgang Puck will not use eggs from laying hens confined in battery cages. Caged laying hens are kept in such restrictive conditions, they cannot even spread their wings.

3. Wolfgang Puck will not serve pork from producers who confine breeding sows in gestation crates. These cruel devices restrict animals from even turning around or performing many of their other behaviors for nearly their entire lives.

4. Wolfgang Puck will not serve veal from producers that confine their calves in individual veal crates. This inhumane intensive confinement practice prevents calves from even turning around or walking for months on end.

5. Wolfgang Puck will feature delicious vegetarian options on its menus, as many consumers who want to eat well and humanely look for these selections.

6. Wolfgang Puck will feature Certified Organic selections on its menus, as many consumers concerned for their environment and health look for these options.

7. Wolfgang Puck will send a letter to the companies' chicken and turkey meat suppliers indicating its interest in Controlled Atmosphere Killing, a slaughter method involving dramatically less suffering than typical methods.

8. Wolfgang Puck will only serve chicken and turkey meat from farms that are third-party-audited for compliance with progressive animal welfare standards.

9. Wolfgang Puck will only serve certified sustainable seafood.