Café Café: Cruel Cuisine on the Menu

I went to Café Café last weekend. Beautiful deco. Really, really beautiful. You can tell a lot of thought has gone into every aspect of the restaurant. Including its menu.

They proudly boast of foie gras as their signature dish. When the waiter proudly told us that, I put my menu down and told him "That's really cruel". He smiled and said its the best-selling item on the menu.

I asked to speak to the manager (did I really have to make a scene about this? For the love of tortured geese the world over, HELL YEAH!) The manager came by, and tried to convince me that the goose liver they purchase are from farms that treat their birds "humanely". SYEAH RIGHT.

I had to walk out. Still, knowing the attitude of Malaysians who care about their stomachs over anything else, their business won't suffer much. And who was I, anyway? Just a nut case tree hugger to them.

I also wrote a letter (which I happily plagiarized from my earlier blog entry about foie gras) to the restaurant. Of course, no reply.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I highly respect your restaurant. And I think it is a bright spark in the Malaysian food industry.

However, I have a personal opinion regarding your "signature dish" - foie gras.

The means of producing goose liver are cruel. You may fool yourself into thinking that the farms that produce foie gras are "animal friendly". Many of these farms that claim such fallacies were spied upon by animal activists and journalists. And I can assure you, the footages that were recorded did not meet the PG-13 mark.

However, maybe, just maybe, there is the possibility that you are really unaware of the cruel methods behind the production of your signature dish. Here are some facts:

* An 8-10 inch steel pipe of the feeding machine is attached by a long hose to a hydraulic machine. This machine shoots several pounds of food directly into the stomachs of the birds in just a few seconds.

* A farm worker force-feeds the birds by shoving the steel pipe down the birds' esophagus, up to 3 times a day.

* 80% of birds used in foie gras production are kept in tiny, box-like cages.

* Force-fed birds with engorged livers have difficulty balancing, and every step is a struggle.

* Rough handling during the force-feeding process results in bloodied birds, many of them with broken bills.

* Birds who die from being force-fed are dumped in bins. Common causes of death includes burst stomachs, choking on their own vomit and aspiration pneumonia where the food is accidentally forced into the birds' lungs.

* In a Foie Gras factory in New York, workers receive a “special bonus” if they caused fewer than 50 burst stomachs a month.

* In that same factory, spy video cameras recorded ducks trying to "walk" using their wings because their legs had given out.

It is too much of me to ask you to consider taking this item of your menu.

But at the very least, I do hope that I have brought to your attention the cruelty and savageness of foie gras. And that these acts of barbarity will continue as long as there is a demand to satisfy pretentious palates with this "delicacy".

I apologize in advance for any rudeness or harshness. But I feel it necessary to voice out my opinion.

Thank you for reading.

Ms Yue-Li Gan