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Puck Soup: Wolfgang Puck Gets a Shiny New Conscience

March 26th, 2007 · No Comments · Activism, Business, Factory Farming, Food, Health, News, Politics

Puck SoupI haven’t exactly been a fan of Wolfgang Puck, to put it mildly, because in the past he’s been a major promoter of animal cruelty — he bears a lot of responsibility for the popularization of foie gras over the last few years. I give his restaurant in Evanston a wide berth, and have been known to mutter various creative phrases that rhyme with his last name when I pass the shelf full of his soup cans at Whole Foods.

So it’s good to see that Mr. Puck appears to have had a change of heart — or at least has figured out that there’s good marketing value in appealing to environmentally conscious, animal-friendly consumers.

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and the Humane Society of the United States plan to announce today that Puck’s $300-million-a-year food empire is beginning a program to fight animal cruelty.

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.

That sounds like a pretty good start. Of course, he’s not all the way there yet:

For the time being, however, Puck is not embracing the full animal-rights agenda. Puck chefs will continue to kill lobsters by cutting them in half while they’re still alive, rather than by using stun guns.

And skate and Russian caviar, both of which Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch has on its “avoid” list, remain on his menus.

… but at least he’s taken a big step in the right direction. Big kudos to both The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary for helping Mr. Puck see the light.

Of course, time will tell whether he honors these commitments — but if he does, in a year or two I might even smile when I pass his soup cans.


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