The joy of tucking into a perfectly prepared prime rib of beef at a fine restaurant. The lingering memories of a joyous Thanksgiving with family and friends, highlighted by a succulent turkey dinner. The hot dog “with everything” wolfed down by a happy kid at his first ballgame.
Food is surely one of our favorite things. So it’s hard to believe that there are people out there who would want to take any of our gustatory pleasures away from us.
Well, believe it. And they want to do it with government sanction.
California has joined several countries around the world in banning the production of foie gras. Foie gras is the liver of a duck or goose that has been fattened up by a process known as “gavage,” where a feeding tube is placed in the throat of Donald Duck or Mother Goose.
The methodology was developed by the ancient Egyptians and Romans long before the sophisticated French made it into a culinary art form. But now opponents of this delicacy managed to get SB1520, which prohibits the force feeding of any bird, signed into law in September 2004 (though implementation was delayed until July 2012).
What these folks object to is the so-called cruelty to the bird. A feeding tube? Quelle horreur! How evil! How barbaric! Or, maybe not.
Famed French chef Jacques Pepin recently stated in an interview on KQED’s Bay Area Bites that gavage is really a “natural process.” In fact, he noted, these birds gorge themselves in the wild in preparation for migration.
Dr. Temple Grandin, a renowned animal husbandry expert, explained in an interview in The Village Voice that the birds do not even have a gag reflex. And veterinarian Jeanne Smith testified to the California Legislature that gavage is the preferred way to treat sick or injured birds. Others have commented on the clean facilities and well-cared-for poultry sighted at such farms as the one operated by Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York.
So what motivates the animal rights whackos?
The online logo for Animal Rights and Anti-Oppression tells us, soothingly, that the group is about challenging “oppression and injustice against nonhuman animals, humans, and earth – one vegan, environmentalist, feminist, social-justice-loving progressive post at a time.”
On a site called Viva!, Justin Kerswell (the site’s “Campaigns Manager”) averred, “There is no such thing as humane meat. The best way to end the suffering of animals is not to eat them. It is as simple as that.”
How about PETA? They state their goal as “ending fur and leather use … meat and dairy consumption … fishing … hunting … trapping … factory farming … circuses … bull fighting … ” Hmmm. Interesting that PETA’s founder, Ingrid Newkirk, has compared the poultry industry to the Holocaust!
A big issue for all these activists is the abuse of animals that are being raised as sources of food. And their solution is for everyone to stop eating meat … on moral and ethical grounds.
So why has foie gras been singled out for legislation?
Chef Josiah Citrin of the gourmet French restaurant Melisse in Santa Monica, California, called foie gras “low hanging fruit.” He told a reporter that, unlike the beef industry, the foie gras producers don’t have the resources to fight back. And because there’s a very limited market for the stuff, banning it isn’t going to get many consumers riled up.
But don’t expect the animal rights people to stop by shaming us into becoming vegetarians. They won’t be satisfied until eating meat – all meat – is actually illegal. How are they going to make that happen?
Consider this …
In February of this year, Dr. Lori Marino of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, offered “a declaration of the rights of cetaceans” at the annual meeting of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). She claimed that due to their intelligence and self-awareness, whales and dolphins count as non-human persons and therefore have “moral rights.” Philosopher Peter Singer has long advocated similar rights for the Great Apes – gorillas, bonobos, orangutans, and the like.
In the words of Dr. Marino, “ … this is not about harvesting resources, this is about murder.”
COPYRIGHT 2013 PETER BERNARD/CREATORS.COM
Be the first to read Peter Bernard's columns and other Voice of Sanity articles by signing up today and having them delivered directly into your inbox each morning.Additional articles by Peter Bernard
Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints. Make your case passionately, but please keep your comments civil and to the point (maximum of 1500 characters). Obscene, profane, abusive, or off-topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked.
If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion. Thanks for your participation.