Michael Pollan on Foie Gras

Okay, okay, I’m going a little bit overboard on Michael Pollan of late, but the dude is on top of his game. It also helps that he and I share the same brain on several topics.

On his New York Times Blog (hidden behind a login screen that one must pay for), he makes the following statement on the recent Chicago Foie Gran ban:

Iâ??m not about to defend foie gras from the legions of righteous animal defenders. But do we have any reason to believe that feeding ducks and geese corn through tubes put down their throats is any more brutal than snipping off tails and beaks? I have not visited either of Americaâ??s foie gras farms, but I note that they have invited journalists to visit and see the operations for themselves. (Just try to wangle your way into an industrial chicken or hog facility.) Some of the journalists who have accepted that invitation report that the birds rush over to the farmers at feeding time. Our own visceral revulsion at the prospect of having tubes stuck down our throats may have to do with the fact we have a gag reflex; ducks and geese do not. I seriously doubt youâ??d ever see pigs rushing over to the man wielding the pliers.

To ban foie gras is symbolic politics at its worst, a way to create the appearance of doing something about a problem that politicians â?? and, letâ??s face it, most of us eaters â?? would rather not confront. So we close down a couple of foie gras farms. (Though the California law gives the farmers till 2012 to desist, which is odd: if force-feeding ducks is really so heinous, then how in good conscience can we abide the practice for six more years?) We brace ourselves for a major change in our eating habits: no more foie gras after 2012. What a sacrifice! And, after patting ourselves on the back for all weâ??ve done for the animals, we can now, with clear conscience, turn back to our breakfast, ordering bacon and eggs, sunny side up.

The hypocrisy behind the Foie Gras ban is something that the folks at PETA seem to be unwilling to address. Chicago, home of Armour meats, would have been the perfect place to confront some of the issues that are worth bringing into the public discourse. Instead, they chose to attack a small farm producer that’s trying to be as transparent as possible.

(Thanks Jack!)

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