Tag Archives: Chicago – IL

Chicago and Foie Gras

I’ve gotten several people asking my opinion about the recent Chicago decision to ban Foie Gras It’s taken a few days to formulate my thoughts into coherent argument, because I don’t think that the point I wish to make is one that is one that’s been making the rounds in the various medias.

The primary issue here is not whether the animal advocates wish to ban meats that’s been inhumanely gathered. If the animal-rights lobbyists had the true courage of their convictions, they would have been going after the mass-produced poultry farms, or the cattle industry that forces the cows to stand in environments that encourage disease. Heck, they could even have made a case for boiling live losters at the various steak and seafood places that are so prevalent in the Windy City.

Instead, they decided to engage in hyperbole at the highest order.

Veterinarians and animal rights activists have described in graphic detail how geese and ducks suffer while being force-fed to create the enlarged liver delicacy. Theyâ??ve made comparisons to the mistreatment of prisoners at Iraqâ??s Abu Ghraib prison.

That, my friends, is disingenuousness with a capital ‘D’. Equating the gavage process with the socio-political and human rights issues surrounding that infamous prison makes having a rational and reasoned debate on this topic near impossible.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The reason that the anti foie-gras folks were successful in getting this ban is rather simple to figure out:

  1. The demand for foie gras is loooooow. At the time of the ban, there were between 4 to 12 restaurants in the Chicago area even selling the liver. Most people have never tried it, and most people don’t go out of their way to try it.
  2. There’s a fair amount of classism surrounding the product. Foie gras has been interpreted as a product for the upper-class, sold at restaurants where most people cannot afford to regularly visit.
  3. Finally, and most importantly – for the mainstream public who are now so separated from the process of how our food is actually collected, harvested or made, videos showing gavage can be shocking and upsetting.

What it boils down to is this (pun intended). Groups of people are determining what citizens can eat, based solely on political point scoring. One has to ask oneself, which is worse – force feeding ducks and geese? Or force feeding a debatable morality to the public at large? Personally, I’m more nauseous from the latter.

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