Billed as a dinner party to celebrate a nearly forbidden food, the $250 per person foie gras-focused event at David Burke Tavern Wednesday night became that one diners likely will not forget — after animal rights activists stormed the Upper East Side restaurant chanting “David Burke has blood on his hands!”
Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’ was playing over the restaurant’s speakers as eight demonstrators, some well-dressed for a night of fine dining, filed into the restaurant at 135 East 62nd Street, near Lexington Avenue just after 6:30 pm.
“Foie gras is animal cruelty!” one protester announced to the diners seated in the first floor bar area.
“There is no excuse! For duck abuse!” the activists chanted in a call-and-response as they tried to move up the stairs to the dining room, but were blocked by a hostess as customers filed past into the restaurant.
The party crashers from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, as well as the Long Island-Duck Defenders showed up to denounce Chef Burke and his customers, who shelled out big bucks for the four-course feast centered on foie gras — a luxury product made from diseased goose or duck livers, the condition induced by farmers force-feeding birds.
“Only those with no shame that their cruel cravings overrule common decency would gorge on the engorged livers made by ramming tubes down birds’ throats,” said Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President.
“This foul feast is so disgusting and distasteful that it turns any normal person’s stomach,” Newark added.
The ‘FoieGone’ event at David Burke Tavern was originally billed as a farewell party to the delicacy, a ban on which was expected to go into effect next month — two years after the New York City Council voted to prohibit products from force-fed animals.
The foie gras prohibition in NYC had been set to go into effect in November, until a judge blocked the ban due to lawsuits from two upstate duck farms.
Animal rights activists call the force-feeding used on foie gras duck farms flat-out cruelty.
“These geese are force-fed until their livers explode!” another activist shouted at diners as waiters from the restaurant shooed the group away from the stairs to the dining room.
Upper East Site has learned NYPD officers arrived on the scene and the demonstrators left the restaurant in an orderly fashion.
Their protest was short-lived, lasting only a few minutes. As for Chef David Burke, he wasn’t phased by the commotion.
”It made the night more exciting and memorable,” Burke told Upper East Site in a statement.
“[The demonstration] even brought in some people and sold more tickets to the dinner.”