Food bans and regulations imply a certain criminal activity in acquiring an edible good. In some cases, this assumption is a fallacy, considering the multiple indices in which the food can be served in a “right” or ethical way. Both foie gras (French for fatty duck or goose liver) and shark fin soup function as prime examples of delicacies that are produced in controversial manners. Yet, both dishes contain ingredients the can be prepared, farmed, or fished in sustainable and favorable ways that do not harm the well being of an animal. My site aims to investigate alternative methods to the industrial, factory-like procedures that have transformed prized food items into controversial commodities. I propose that modifications in these industries can also reinforce the movement to grant every citizen information on where food comes from. Ultimately, domestic food bans and regulations only serve to stifle efforts to change food preparation from a controversial to a righteous process.
“We need a radical shift away from the existing top-down and increasingly corporate-controlled research system to an approach which devolves more responsibility and decision-making power to farmers, indigenous peoples, food workers, consumers, and citizens for the production of social and ecological knowledge.” -Michel P. Pimbert, Transforming Knowledge and Ways of Knowing For Food Sovereignty (2006)
For both foie gras and shark fin soup, I cover the history, the ban, and the future of each dish. “The History” looks at the food prior to government-established bans, delving into the farming or established methods of obtaining or harvesting the product. “The Ban” addresses the chronology of national and global efforts to regulate the possession, sales, and trade of each dish. “The Future” incorporates my own findings and observations on alternatives to bans with expert solutions to further progress in the existing, unsustainable markets.