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Duck and goose products in Southwest France. An invitation to think about Contemporary Western Food Ethics
For a few decades, we are seeing a renewal of philosophical and ideological discourses on food in Western societies. Due to the diversity of the thinkers and of their deep motivations, it is a complex phenomenon. Nevertheless, something is certain: a part of these new representations of the “right way to eat” started to impact the local foodways in various parts of the world. The obtention and consumption of hand-fed duck and goose products (foie-gras, confit, magret, graisserons, etc.) in Southwest France provide an interesting case study to measure the social and political challenges presented by the global dissemination of new western moral precepts about food from the heart of Western World. Southwest France was the birthplace of modern foie gras. Palmiped birds are hand-fed in this region for at least more than 200 years. Consequently, beside their importance for the local economy, the duck and goose products are traditional strong markers of regional identity. Logically, all the debates on “foie gras ban”. Here, the question of the “Animal Welfare” arises in terms much more complex than those that simplistic against-speciesism reasonings propose. As millions of palmiped birds are bred each year in Southwest France, the regional foie-gras sector had to take into account sustainability topics at all the stages of production. Traditional foods, Duck and goose products also invite to think about the notion of “Food Sovereignty” in a globalized world where some ideological points of view benefit from large international media coverage.