Marian Burros reports on the Times food blog on a fire that killed 15,000 ducks at Hudson Valley Foie Gras. Fire assumed to be an accident says co-owner Michael Ginor. It’s not devastating to the business, but very sad for the animals and the people who cared for them.
The event illuminates two points. That HVFG may be growing too fast to take care of all its animals well (this suggested by an animal rights group, mind you). And that all the anti-foie hullabaloo has made the foie gras business better than ever.
I met Mr. Ginor last month at, ironically, Charlie Trotter’s, whom Trotter—Trotter eschews the use of foie gras in his restaurants—invited as a guest for the 20th anniversary celebrations. Best wishes to Ginor and his staff.
UPDATE: COMMENT FROM MICHAEL GINOR, WHO CLARIFIES SOME OF THE ISSUES:
As a co-owner and co-founder of Hudson Valley Foie Gras I would like to thank Mr. Ruhlman for his well wishes and for placing his sympathy with the ducks, where they belong. We are very saddened by the fact that birds, that we so carefully and attentively care for, perished in this fire. These ducks were in a carefully maintained breading barn and not a "storage facility" as been somehow miss reported. This was a relatively large barn, approximately 60,000 square feet in size. A "Facotory farming" type of operation would squeeze 40,000 ducks in to such a space. "Humane" growing guidelines suggest 3 square feet per duck, allowing for about 20,000 ducks in such a coop. Hudson Valley utilized the space for 11,000 duck allowing about twice the suggested space per bird. I am profoundly confused by the allagation of any in humanity or involved with this unfortunate event or the suggestion that these duck were unkindly treated in anyway.