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FamilyMart cancels release of foie gras bento due to complaints over animal cruelty

53 Comments
By Oona McGee

Popular Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart has cancelled the release of a foie gras and beef patty bento ready meal due to customer complaints. While news of the cancellation will no doubt please animal rights supporters, some Japanese Internet commenters have opposed the decision, arguing that the consumption of foie gras is no worse than the consumption of beef.

The “FamilyMart Premium Black-Haired Wagyu Hamburger Bento with Foie Gras Pâté” was scheduled to sell for 690 yen from Tuesday. In its news release stating the reasons for cancelling the product, the company maintains that they included foie gras in the bento as it is a common food in Japan.

However, they decided to cancel the release after it became aware that other countries and some customers in Japan had different opinions regarding the production process of foie gras. Details of the production process, which includes force-feeding ducks and geese large amounts of food to enlarge their livers, was not mentioned in the news release.

The decision by FamilyMart was met with some opposition by Japanese netizens. Some pointed out that there’s cruelty involved in the consumption of anything, including all meat and vegetables, while others were angry at vegans and vegetarians for continually limiting food options for meat lovers.

Source: Itai News

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53 Comments
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Good for them! have you ever seen this force-feeding, and how the birds are treated and kept? It's appalling. Well done Family Mart!

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Good decision.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

some Japanese Internet commenters have opposed the decision, arguing that the consumption of foie gras is no worse than the consumption of beef.

Yet they still eat beef?

This is a good move by FM, after their mistake in planning this horror-torture-bento in the first place.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

What is foie gras? .

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Good decision. But they are selling dolphin meat in some areas?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Black-Haired Wagyu Hamburger Bento

Not the most appetizing name for a bento by any means.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Family Mart FTW!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. A society that does not protest against such animal cruelty has no future.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

the company maintains that they included foie gras in the bento as it is a common food in Japan.

Is it really that common?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Is it really that common?

More than you'd think, unfortunately. People tend not to know what it is or how it's made, but they eat it because they're told it's gourmet, and expensive. About as much thought and compassion goes into its consumption (normally- all the more power to FM customers) as goes into the gratuitous fur trimming on hoods, collars, boots, bags and mobile phone dingle-dangles.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Cancelled - fois gras bento.

Not the most appetizing name for a bento by any means.

It's a bad translation, or rather too direct. The Japanese is kuroge wagyuu: kuro - black ke (ge) - hair wa - Japanese gyuu - cow

It's a breed of cow. The meat from the cow is also called the same thing. Sounds gross in English though.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Toshiko - foie gras is goose or duck liver. It's very fatty, thus soft, and considered a delicacy. how it reaches this soft consistency is by force-feeding the birds. A quick google will show you what that looks like.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Though I haven't eaten meat in twenty-five years, I think Family Mart's cancellation is utter and complete nonsense.

4 ( +11 / -8 )

Good decision so cancel it, but who's bright idea was it to create the bento? Cruelty to animals is something that needs to be taught about more in Japan. Those tiny cages for animals in pet shops, and even at zoos where there is so much space around and wide paths to walk on, but the enclosures have very little space... this disgusts me. I feel so sorry for those animals.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

In any case, cruel or not, WHY would you want to eat 'gourmet foie gras' (if you eat the horrid stuff at all) from a convenience store bento?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

But it's part of culture! It shouldn't be banned. So it's okay to eat tortured dolphin meat but not okay to eat tortured duck meat. Oh the hypocrisy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is foie gras? .

Some of THE most tastiest pate money can buy!!!

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

So, can we assume Family Mart wouldn't sell dolphin sashimi bento too?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

cruelty towards animals,not tolerated! great to hear the internet is joining the fight!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Good decision: keep Western animal cruelty practices out of Japan.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

if you don't want to eat it, then don't. why force others to follow your own moral code? life is aobut making personal choices. it's fine it you want to alert people about how foie gras is made, but it's my choice to eat it or not.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

So did no one protest when Jonathan's Restaurant, a family restaurant chain, began its foie gras and hamburger special? I guess Family Mart is a much bigger giant to challenge.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"... it's my choice to eat it or not."

Very true. But it's Family Mart's choice to sell it or not.

As you say yourself, why force others to follow your own moral code? However lacking....

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

toshiko-

What is foie gras? .

it is フォアグラ lol

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I love eating duck.... Just saying...

1 ( +6 / -5 )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABeWlY0KFv8

0 ( +1 / -1 )

if you don't want to eat it, then don't. why force others to follow your own moral code? life is aobut making personal choices. it's fine it you want to alert people about how foie gras is made, but it's my choice to eat it or not.

I totally agree, I don't even have a problem with Family Marts decision to not sell the product, and truthfully, I don't like any animal to be slaughtered for food, but I like meat and there is only way one way, I can get my meat on my plate. I do think that some animals are more deserving of life (Whales, dolphins, etc) them being higher evolved animals, but that is MY own personal opinion. I do not see bovine, swine, poultry or fish in the same manner, for me, it's fair game, if you vegans don't like it! it's ok! but I'm honest and I'm not pretending to be a hypocrite. It's my personal choice what I like to eat, I don't tell the vegans how they should eat and I don't want them telling people like me that enjoy the taste of meat.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Even if it is a whopping 690yen, it is still too cheap for foie gras so probably would have tasted bad.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is great, I asked my elementary students what they had for lunch yesterday, and they said "whale". , but foie gras is a no go haha.seriously , whale.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"I see the tube going down the throat...." asks Bourdain. "It's OK, they're ducks, not people" answers the man making huge profits from shoving tubes down bird necks several times a day and pouring food in until their livers expand to grotesque proportions.

Instead of asking the people who make a living from it and who in no way are ever going to say, 'Yes, I make a living from torturing birds, I don't care because it's profitable and people with fat wallets, fat stomachs and no heart don't care what they eat or how it gets on their plate', why doesn't Bourdain try having a tube stuffed down his throat several times a day every day for two or three weeks, and get back to us with his personal account of the experience?

Don't do unto others what you wouldn't want done unto you.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Vegetarians and vegans are a very outspoken group! It seems that they and others have pushed the management to withdraw a product from their product line. We have to be careful about the influence of a minority group as they will lobby to take away things that the majority want. Today is foie gras,tomorrow is?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Readers, this is not a vegan vs non-vegan issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Bass I agree that the vast majority of people classify and respect animals on the basis of intelligence, looks, cultural standards , whether they are endangered etc. Not too many who don't subscribe to certain wooly religious claptrap would put a cockroach and toy poodle on the same level. Animals such as cetaceans, elephants and apes have a sense of 'I' and this makes for a pretty sound moral argument that the killing of these creatures is the destruction of an individual life and their incarceration immoral. However, I don't see how it follows that this gives us license to treat 'lesser' creatures with appalling cruelty as in the case of these birds. Birds have highly developed nervous systems and are capable of feeling pain. Thankfully, the days of slicing open the chests of live dogs in order to show circulation and writing off the howls of agony as not genuine pain but a mere reflex action are behind us. We now know enough about the nervous systems of living creatures to make the pain inflicted through barbarism like the force feeding of birds unconscionable.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I have no concern over the production of foie gras being animal cruelty (I don't think it is). What alarms me is the fact people actually eat it. I think it is one of the most wretched food stuffs ever, up there with kim chee, natto, and vegemite.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Tree Huggers of Japan UNITE !

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I'm sorry but this is stupid. Those animals are born and breed to be food. So they force feed them. They're going to be killed. They might as well be feed as much as they can cuz either way, they're gonna be killed and consumed by us.

If they don't force feed them, would it make a difference though? Their fate has been decided. They're food. Not pets. And I used to have a duck as a pet. There is a difference.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

I'm fine with this because FM is a corporation with plenty of ways to make money not a village of fishermen without much alternative to maintain their village.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm sorry but this is stupid. Those animals are born and breed to be food. So they force feed them. They're going to be killed. They might as well be feed as much as they can cuz either way, they're gonna be killed and consumed by us.

If they don't force feed them, would it make a difference though? Their fate has been decided. They're food. Not pets. And I used to have a duck as a pet. There is a difference.

Exactly! I totally agree. If people don't like it, they don't have to eat it. Simple as that.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Thank you to educate me about Foie Gras. Never heard in Las Vegas area in USA.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

French law states that "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France". On a related topic, the practice of human consumption of whale meat continues today in Japan, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, by Basques, the Inuit and other indigenous peoples of the United States (including the Makah people of the Pacific Northwest), Canada, Greenland; the Chukchi people of Siberia, and Bequia in the Caribbean Sea...

It seems to me that the Japanese do care about the environment and is concerned over animal cruelty. BUT, if it takes away from their cultural heritage, they look the other way.

In this case, it is French culture, so there is no problem cancelling the realease of this typically French product.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

French cuisine, bah. It is Egyptian in origin and backdates a few thousand years.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Good for them that they canceled - bad for them that they let the idea slip through in the first place. And good quality beef and foie gras for 700 yen?! Give me a break.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I'm more than happy with this. In the UK it's against the law to produce this... foodstuff as it contravenes several animal protection laws. Sadly it can still be imported... which is bizarre. If it's banned because it causes suffering then why is it okay to import it? The birds are still suffering.

Anyway, good on Family Mart.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

If a person wants to eat dead bodies or body parts, fine, that's their choice. But let them do it without inflicting the terror, pain or sheer mind-numbing despair of barbaric feeding practices, factory farming and slaughter methods.

What way do you suggest? Gassing them? They are food, if you make that kind of an emotional argument, you can make that about ANY animal. If you don't like it or refuse to eat it, I have no problem with that, but I think it's very insensitive of people that are against it trying to make the argument to people that like it are wrong or barbarians. It's a choice. That's all. Japan chose not to stock Family Mart with the pate, so be it. I can live with that. But just don't force other people to think and believe that your way is right, because for some people, it's not. I love the stuff and always will. And the people that like it, should feel just as good.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I can understand FM not wanting their corporate image dragged through the mud by radical protesters. That's a business decision in their own interest. But, I think it's a shame that certain busybodies can effectively dictate what can or cannot be offered by threat of violence(perhaps not physical but mental).

I would have liked to have had the choice to try it. That's how rabid socialists work; whittle away the choices until what's left is tofu and white rice.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

FM only stopped the Bento, the stuff is still legal and sold widely in Japan. Someone else will fill that void, said with the stuff most likely being cheap most likely being from China .......

I do like it but than I do eat a lot of stuff that gets me some strange looks from some.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Don't know what kind of grade the foie gras was that they would have served, but the taste is kind of addictive, needless to say. But hopefully, some other place will start to sell it. I'd buy it in a minute.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Foie gras tastes horrible. Good on you Family Mart for not wasting your shelves with such pretentious food- the sort that high class restaurant put in their food (which they don't taste themselves).

-1 ( +6 / -6 )

Foie gras bento at 650 yen? That's cheap at half the price! You beauty!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

lucabrasiJan. 28, 2014 - 11:39AM JST Very true. But it's Family Mart's choice to sell it or not. As you say yourself, why force others to follow your own moral code? However lacking....

Family Mart made the choice. They wanted to sell it. Then some people threatened to make a huge stink about it on the internet if they did sell it.

Effectively this is harassment and intimidation, and it is becoming far too common.

I could support Family Mart stepping back if they were confronted with a petition with thousands of names (accompanied by Family Mart points cards numbers) asking that Family Mart please not sell the foie gras. Then it would be Family Mart customers asking Family Mart not to do something.

What we have in this case is a bunch of random strangers, who may not even shop at Family Mart, demanding that Family Mart not provide an option to their customers.

It simply isn't on. Personally I don't eat foie gras because I think it is cruel and unnecessary (seriously, a well-made duck liver pate is just as nice and the whole duck is killed and eaten without any unnecessary cruelty), but I support the right of others to come to the same conclusion after actually sampling a little foie gras.

... and my bet is that after eating convenience store mass-produced cheap foie gras most people would never want to touch it again, which would be far more effective than any number of harassment campaigns bullying companies into not offering products to the public.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

some people threatened to make a huge stink about it on the internet if they did sell it.

Effectively this is harassment and intimidation

The article says nothing about anyone 'threatening to make a stink on the internet' and makes no mention of 'harassment and intimidation'. What it does say is that they decided to cancel the release after it became aware that other countries and some customers in Japan had different opinions regarding the production process of foie gras - sounds to me like whoever was in charge of making the decision did so not knowing, like most Japanese consumers, what the manufacture of foie gras involves, and when it was brought to his/her attention, decided, sensibly, that it was something FM did not want to be associated with.

If, as you suggest, the stuff they were planning to use in the bento was cheap, mass-produced stuff manufactured in some hole-in-the-wall place in the 3rd world where the birds are no more than moving meat machines - all the more reason to scrap what was a bad idea in the first place.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's not difficult to agree with FM's decision, but foie gras is still a delicacy that I like, once in awhile. Just like haggis, or real truffles, athough the latter are a bit more expensive than even the best foie gras. To each his own; I'm sure somewhere in Japan I'll find some decent stuff, if not at FM. Still, let's not heap derision on the corporation's decision.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

to those questioning if foie gras is commonly eaten in Japan perhaps you haven't eaten at a Japanese wedding before..every wedding I have attended in Japan served foie gras and you can find it on the menu at any gourmet french restaurant so I would say it is pretty commonly eaten if you dine gourmet.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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