Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
azzar

The war against foie gras - please help save the spread!

Recommended Posts

The animal rights group PETA has stepped up its attack on foie gras with this message from the actress Kate Winslet.

The mainstream media are comparing it with the celebrity campaign against bluefin, but of course the analogy is way out. Geese are not endangered, to start with.

The threat to geese, ducks and foie gras lovers alike is severe. The fact is that these increasingly shrill Ban Foie Gras campaigns (just have a look at Sir Roger Moore!) will just push more production to China, where most of the big French foie gras producers already have facilities. And over there it's not a case of traditional Gascon farmers lovingly fattening their goose - it's full on conveyor belt mechanisation, and not much interest in standards or welfare.

So if you care about traditional foie gras and about the welfare of ducks and geese (not to forget your right to make your own decisions about the morality of animal-derived foods), you'd better get busy...

Here's the Save Foie Gras Facebook site - signing up could make a difference. Here's a link to my piece in today's Times(UK).

Forgive if I've posted this in the wrong place...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100% agree with you.

It is the same kind of tree hugging fools that prevent me from eating cheval here in the US. We can slaughter horses for export, we can slaughter them for dog food, but not for my dinner table. Foo!

And the same foolery means that my county seems to have more deer than people. Does not matter to them that venison is tasty healthy food, yet dangerous when you hit the stupid creatures with your car, which I have done on three occasions so far.

What next? If you drive through the rolling hills of Virginia, you will notice farms with collections of what look to be large dog houses. They are raising veal. Oops, it seems that they are starting to ban that too.

I'm hungry. I want to eat. What could be more inhumane than eating a creature? Or will that be banned too?


-e

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my list of things to worry about, ridiculous luxury goods for the overprivileged ranks as a pretty low priority.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One man's ridiculous luxury good for the overprivileged is another man's invaluable culinary tradition. Do you feel the same about artisan bread?

As for PETA, I don't even like foie gras (or veal) and I find this ridiculous.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"So if you care about traditional foie gras and about the welfare of ducks and geese (not to forget your right to make your own decisions about the morality of animal-derived foods), you'd better get busy..."

"Traditional" foie would be a seasonal product. Using liver from ducks and geese that fatten themselves by gorging on their own in preparation for winter is traditional.

Gavage is not traditional (or natural) and in my eyes not much more desirable than what it seems you fear about the potential for factory foieing as more production potentially moves to China.

I'm all for "traditional" foie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"So if you care about traditional foie gras and about the welfare of ducks and geese (not to forget your right to make your own decisions about the morality of animal-derived foods), you'd better get busy..."

"Traditional" foie would be a seasonal product. Using liver from ducks and geese that fatten themselves by gorging on their own in preparation for winter is traditional.

Gavage is not traditional (or natural) and in my eyes not much more desirable than what it seems you fear about the potential for factory foieing as more production potentially moves to China.

I'm all for "traditional" foie.

Wikipedia tells me that

"In 1570, Bartolomeo Scappi, chef de cuisine to Pope Pius V, published his cookbook Opera, wherein he describes that "the liver of [a] domestic goose raised by the Jews is of extreme size and weighs [between] two and three pounds."

I think 440 years is plenty to establish a tradition. Or are you just confusing "traditional" with "natural"?


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you feel the same about artisan bread?

I guess it depends on what you mean by "artisan," which is a word that gets thrown around very loosely these days. I bake my own bread, but I wouldn't call it artisan. It's just bread. Decent fresh bread doesn't have to be an expensive luxury item; it wasn't before factory-made bread took over the market. Bread doesn't have to be the most perfectest bread lovingly produced by master bakers, and it doesn't have to be cheap crap either. It can be just bread.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm assuming for some reason the Guardian and Observer turned your piece down?

:-)

Yes let's tackle the factory chicken farmers first, oh no hang on we can't do that because working class people eat those, let's focus on what we see as a 'posh' persons food instead.

There's a lot of hypocrisy in food. Leave the French foie gras farmers alone I say. It's not as if they are some giant conglomerate, just a few old men smelling like badgers living harmless lives in the depths of the French countryside occasionally shooting things in between huge meals

S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's something appropriately illogical about asserting that banning a product (and its importation) would lead to its production going offshore, to unregulated China.

Almost as illogical as suggesting that 'artisan' bread is a comparable product of cruelty.

The "shrill" nonsense seems to be from the consumers of foie gras.

Personally, I'll continue to quietly avoid foie gras, crate-raised veal, and battery-farmed eggs and poultry.

Make no mistake, I'll continue to enjoy meat from sources where the animals are well-treated.

While continuing to avoid foods where an animal suffers throughout its life, to give a few minutes pleasure to its consumer.

But I am not campaigning on the subject.


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:rolleyes: Some people are just uncomfortable with our natural omnivore diet, and they are working hard to change it. The strategy employs class warfare since, for most people, "ridiculous luxury goods for the overprivileged ranks as a pretty low priority" for them. So they stand passively by while others have their rights and freedoms limited.

If that is effective, you can pretty much guarantee that bigger game will be hunted (so to speak), and eventually you're ability to eat anything more complex than a blade of grass will be severely limited.

So just keep thinking that "ridiculous luxury goods for the overprivileged ranks as a pretty low priority" doesn't affect you in the least...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meh, by African standards, ground beef is a "ridiculous luxury good for the overprivileged". It's all relative. I count myself as pretty solidly in the middle class in America. I drive a 13 year old car. I rent my house. And yet, once a year I treat myself to a dish with foie gras in it (pumpkin soup). Foie gras is a luxury good. So is a dry-aged steak. But for the overprivileged?

Anyway, if anyone can point me towards a *real* petition that's supportive of American foie producers, I'd be delighted to sign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the first time I've heard of french producers having foie gras production facilities in China. If that move is associated with a decline in animal care standards/welfare (that is admittedly debatable), then to me that completely undercuts the vast majority of pro foie gras arguments. I think many foie gras consumers sustain themselves on the belief that foie gras ducks/geese have it better than their battery-farmed counterparts. Foie gras producers benefit from that belief, and now seem to be abusing it. To me that is a MAJOR breach of trust, and deserves some form of retaliation (of course here I mean boycott, not violence). To be clear: the practices should be outlawed, not the product.


Edited by Mallet (log)

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my list of things to worry about, ridiculous luxury goods for the overprivileged ranks as a pretty low priority.

I agree with this statement!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My general sense is that the "ridiculous luxury goods" sentiment is exactly what peta's tapping into. As with most farming operations, there are probably good, humane foie farms and piss poor / cruel ones. But such distinctions are uninteresting to a group that's interested in raising outrage to strengthen its support.

If it weren't for the unsympathetic luxury goods factor, peta would be going after run of the mill chicken operations. Purdue tortures more birds every five minutes than all the foie farmers in the country lay their hands on in a year.

But it it would be harder to get the the populace in an uproar over their own eating habits instead of the habits of the "overprivileged.'


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:rolleyes: Some people are just uncomfortable with our natural omnivore diet, and they are working hard to change it. The strategy employs class warfare since, for most people, "ridiculous luxury goods for the overprivileged ranks as a pretty low priority" for them. So they stand passively by while others have their rights and freedoms limited.

If that is effective, you can pretty much guarantee that bigger game will be hunted (so to speak), and eventually you're ability to eat anything more complex than a blade of grass will be severely limited.

So just keep thinking that "ridiculous luxury goods for the overprivileged ranks as a pretty low priority" doesn't affect you in the least...

Ah, the classic "slippery slope" argument is a false argument. Also unaware of any "right" to eat foie gras, which would be yet another false argument.

At least I found a great deal of ironic humor in the notion that forcing a tube down a goose's throat and force-feeding it is part of "our natural omnivore diet."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My general sense is that the "ridiculous luxury goods" sentiment is exactly what peta's tapping into. As with most farming operations, there are probably good, humane foie farms and piss poor / cruel ones. But such distinctions are uninteresting to a group that's interested in raising outrage to strengthen its support.

If it weren't for the unsympathetic luxury goods factor, peta would be going after run of the mill chicken operations. Purdue tortures more birds every five minutes than all the foie farmers in the country lay their hands on in a year.

But it it would be harder to get the the populace in an uproar over their own eating habits instead of the habits of the "overprivileged.'

I don't think that is a fair criticism. PETA does go after factory farming operations. In a big way, too.


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i will take notice of this appeal as soon as PETA take notice of the crap they put out which is utter shite and then when they are forced by law or court to say what utter rubbish they just said they just release the world smallest statement saying they were slightly wrong.

i dont have to like or eat foie gras or veal etc, its just a step to make a small group of people feel theyve gained something somewhere along the line. who cares? who cares if eating or not eating meat is wrong or right? what will i change? id still eat what i eat even if it takes me to create it. funny thing is these protesters will vote liberal democrat. irony, its a blessing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, the classic "slippery slope" argument is a false argument. Also unaware of any "right" to eat foie gras, which would be yet another false argument.

I'm curious why you think a "slippery slope" argument is a false argument. Is it the type of argument or this instance? You provide so little actual data supporting your statements that I couldn't tell.

In any case, it is well established that PETA's aim is to stop all meat consumption. All meat from farms. All hunting. All fishing. They truthfully state this as one of their campaigns on their website.

They are following a classic divide-and-conquer strategy toward this end. In this case, they are isolating a small portion of society ("ridiculous luxury goods for the overprivileged ranks") in order to establish a small victory. They are, of course, depending on an apathetic response from those not directly affected (and seen on this very thread!) in order to gain that victory. If and when they achieve it, they will constantly expand their campaign toward their stated goal.

Fascinating too that you would look to others to grant you the 'right' for what you decide to eat, especially for what has been produced from domesticated animals for hundreds of years. I prefer to eat by my own morality rather than PETA's.

At least I found a great deal of ironic humor in the notion that forcing a tube down a goose's throat and force-feeding it is part of "our natural omnivore diet."

I personally find it tragic when lack of knowledge results in "ironic humor". Our natural omnivore diet resulted in the domestication of animals about 10000 years ago IIRC. How we raise our livestock for food is indeed part of our natural history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious why you think a "slippery slope" argument is a false argument. Is it the type of argument or this instance? You provide so little actual data supporting your statements that I couldn't tell.

I think generally speaking "slippery slope" arguments are considered a type of formal logical error. After all, slippery slope arguments cut both ways. While you can say, "First they came for my foie gras, then they came for my burger." you can also say, "First they force fed geese, then they stapled them to a wall and assaulted them with wiffle bats". Or whatever.

That said, I don't find anything particularly distasteful about the treatment of ducks and geese for foie gras. I think this problem can be solved by educating the public. Sadly, I'm not sure the public is interested in being educated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think generally speaking "slippery slope" arguments are considered a type of formal logical error. After all, slippery slope arguments cut both ways. While you can say, "First they came for my foie gras, then they came for my burger." you can also say, "First they force fed geese, then they stapled them to a wall and assaulted them with wiffle bats". Or whatever.

Thanks Indirect Heat for the link. I didn't see my argument as a logical fallacy because, as the link says, "strength of the argument is inversely proportional to the number of steps between A and Z, and directly proportional to the causal strength of the connections between adjacent steps". In this case, PETA is quite clear and vocal that their aim is to eliminate all animal products from our diets, so there is no need to travel from A to Z -- PETA is quite clear that Z (no meat) is their goal, and A (foie gras) is the start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Banning battery-type operations, whether it be from foie gras or for eggs, is a far step removed from the cessation of meat-eating. I certainly would not want to reject what I consider a perfectly valid argument (that that specific type of production is needlessly cruel) for no other reason than the fact that I disagree with their overall agenda. That locks us into a ideaological battle, which I find profoundly distasteful.

If you are willing to condone factory farming, then that's a separate discussion. If you don't, then you simply must accept that criticizing the production of foie gras in factory farms is perfectly legitimate. Criticism can be used to improve a system. After all, if all foie gras was produced in idyllic little family farms, with free range geese/poultry rushing to the gaveur for their feed, we would hardly be having this discussion.


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't, then you simply must accept that criticizing the production of foie gras in factory farms is perfectly legitimate. Criticism can be used to improve a system. After all, if all foie gras was produced in idyllic little family farms, with free range geese/poultry rushing to the gaveur for their feed, we would hardly be having this discussion.

Mallet, you are presenting a reasonable argument that the type of production is an important point. While I would love to discuss the starvation and disease that would likely result from banning factory farms, that's another topic and I'm trying to keep the topic on foie gras bans. In any case, the efforts to ban foie gras do not attempt to ban a certain type of factory-like production. Instead, PETA's call to ban foie gras is regardless of the production method. They want to ban it all. Not just foie gras that was produced in factory farms, but *all* foie gras. Reason enough to condemn their goals in this case.

So I think you are mistaken: we would still be having this discussion even if all foie gras was produced in your idyllic setting, because PETA *still* wouldn't want the rest of us eating meat. Their publicly stated goal is to remove all animals and their products from our lives (including pets!). Their foie gras campaign is just one in their overall effort to force their morality upon all of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are not forced to take PETA's arguments on an all-or-nothing basis. The videos posted in the OP are (in my opinion) rightly provocative, and should provoke a desire to improve the conditions in those farms.

This is a definite improvement (and isn't some idyllic setting) (the link posted by jk1002 isn't working for me, for all I know this could be the same video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh_wJnQmETE

Keeping ducks confined in battery-type cages is simply not necessary. Obviously simply banning those cages would not appease PETA, but that's their problem, not mine. I certainly don't support a blanket ban on foie gras, but at the same time I think the industry must be sent a message that certain practices will not be tolerated.

It's possible to condemn PETA's overall agenda (I certainly do), while granting that certain practices should stop. Unfortunately, when the movement to continue producing foie gras becomes a license to allow all sorts of cruelty, I have a hard time support either side.


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heck, just about everything we talk about in this forum, from Japanese knives to organic heritage beans are ridiculous luxury goods for the overprivileged.

Right. It's practically our sole purpose to discuss the acquisition of ever-increasingly rarified luxury goods. Though the fact that basically anything that's not a product of an inhumane industrial process is seen as a "luxury good" is an indication of just why our world is quickly going to hell in a fruitbasket.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...