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Osnav

Trotter and Tramonto square off over Foie Gras

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Foie Gras takes something that was given by nature to migrating bird and exploits it to a perverted degree – that is a fact – and I would much rather see someone say,

“I know what it is, I understand that it is likely that the birds suffer for it’s creation especially in the last stages and I realize that it is completely unnecessary for it to exist – knowing that I choose to eat it anyway and I do not support it’s production being outlawed”.

Than to simply be blind and ignorant or in denial.

Whether or not lobsters feel pain, it might be a good idea to kill them quickly just in case, the meat will separate from the shell just as readily and they will taste just as good when cooked sous vide with butter. Whether or not a duck or goose can withstand a tube in it’s throat, being filled to the top with food, growing obese and having it’s liver balloon – it might be a good idea to assume that they suffer for it and be that much more appreciative when you dine on foie gras.

These are domesticated geese and ducks. These are not migratory birds that have been plucked out of the wild. If you want to read an excellent treatise on the domestication of animals and how altered they are from their wild ancestors, then please pick up Germs, Guns and Steel by Jared Diamond. Also, keep in mind that those geese are also used in lieu of watchdogs in France. They can break your arm with ease, so I don't think anyone can force those geese to do anything.

My grandparents were farmers as are my husband's grandparents. I have spent a lot of time around farm animals, working with them and caring for them, and then killing them and dressing the meat. This is what they were domesticated to do--to feed me. Now, I believe that a farm animal's brief life should be reasonably comfortable. It should not be given drugs and housed in a dirty barn. I make a considerable effort to buy meat and poultry that is free range and drug free. Not only is free range kinder to the animal, but a well treated animal produces better meat. From everything I have read about foie gras production, it is pretty artisinal and better than what is done to a factory chicken.

Farm animals were bred to efficiently provide meat, milk and eggs for us by us, because we are at the top of the food chain, and until sharks grow legs, I will remain there.

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How about t-shirts that say "Got foie?"  or "foie gras, parles vous mmmmmmm?" (OK, I don't know any French, so feel free to correct my spelling!) or "I  :wub:  foie gras"

In an equally ridiculous extreme how about this shirt?

Foie Gras = Duck Rape

Equally ricidulous? Sorry, I find nothing ridiculous at all in the statement "I love foie gras" or similar statements. On the other hand equating foie gras or the processes involved in producing foie gras to rape is not only ridiculous but offensive. If offends my sense of logic and reason and it should offend rape victims. consumer is an irrational target of emotional argument made without understanding or investigation. The most convincing argument against foie gras might be that it's unethical to eat meat at all. If we're to consider the quality of life of the animal up until death, then ducks rasied for foie gras might be among the last to be banned.

I've probably made offensive statements, but I recognize that convincing statements win arguments and influence people to agree with me. Offensive statements simply offend people and convince them to trun away from the discussion at hand. Statements that are purposely offensive and unconvincing are counterproductive.

Thank you for these comments Robert. They state what I would say, just in a much more eloquent manner

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I suppose as long as my posts are quoted I’m obligated to respond.

Many (see edit notes) of the English members have connections to animal welfare groups. On the other hand, most of the French members are tied to the industry itself. Either side will tell you (though, alas, rarely on the record) that the other side hijacked the document at the last minute.

I would think that Veterinarians and people with first hand experience with the Foie Gras industry would be the people most qualified to make these assessments which is why I imagine both are represented in the group that produced the document - to keep it from becoming slanted to one side – which is why I said it had no appearance of being biased as it teeters back and forth from one side to the other. I don’t think the omission of Geese (which I wouldn’t say are totally omitted as they appear in numerous places throughout, but perhaps omitted from the section you refer to) makes the document invalid as **if** ducks are suffering and geese “are not”….. ducks are still suffering.

Nathan, I was being glib. It's called humor.

Yes, I am aware of that – if you’ll look back at my post I stated as much. My rebuttal to you Jennifer was not out of anger (indeed eliciting such a response from me is more difficult than it would seem, I don’t think I’ve said anything on this board out of anger – but it is difficult to ascertain such a thing without someone in your physical presence – so I can see how possibly it could be misconstrued as such).

When I read, “Celebrate the consumption of Foie Gras as much as humanly possible” I saw, “force feed as many birds as possible” and “kill as many birds as possible” for no other apparent reason really other than to “get at those who wish to have foie gras banned”.

A stance I interpret as extreme and I simply offered an opposite extreme to demonstrate how those words may make someone feel who is against the production of foie gras and is overtly concerned with the welfare of the animals.

Joke or not – your words were most likely as offensive to those on the opposite side of your opinion as my words may have been to you.

For someone who grew up under the conditions described in one of your current articles of watching animals come home having been killed by hunters in your family and it not sitting well with you when you were young – I find it surprising that you would make such a joke, as you – better than most – understand aspects of the killing and eating of animals – as you have seen your dinner with it’s eyes still intact.

These are domesticated geese and ducks. These are not migratory birds that have been plucked out of the wild. If you want to read an excellent treatise on the domestication of animals and how altered they are from their wild ancestors, then please pick up Germs, Guns and Steel by Jared Diamond. Also, keep in mind that those geese are also used in lieu of watchdogs in France. They can break your arm with ease, so I don't think anyone can force those geese to do anything.

The bird’s ability to produce foie gras stems from their ancestry of being a migratory bird, of course they are not now – but they don’t produce foie gras from chickens for a reason – the physiological response to gorging a chicken would, and I’m only hypothesizing, be much different.

My grandparents were farmers as are my husband's grandparents. I have spent a lot of time around farm animals, working with them and caring for them, and then killing them and dressing the meat. This is what they were domesticated to do--to feed me.

I grew up on a farm in KY, my father raised Belgian horses and did a lot of “Amish style” farming – we raised pigs and chickens and my grandfather raised cattle, did all sorts of planting. To this day members of my immediate family are farmers of the type that this is their living and only source of income – if the crops have a bad year then they have a bad year. So you are “preaching to the choir” in that respect.

Now, I believe that a farm animal's brief life should be reasonably comfortable. It should not be given drugs and housed in a dirty barn. I make a considerable effort to buy meat and poultry that is free range and drug free. Not only is free range kinder to the animal, but a well treated animal produces better meat.

So I’m glad to see that you are of the opinion that, though you are at the top of the food chain and do eat animals – domesticated or wild – there is no reason for them to suffer and no reason why they could not live a “reasonably comfortable life”. I will also assume that having said that you might be against anything that contradicts that statement.

(edit): SP and grammar


Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

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I would think that Veterinarians and people with first hand experience with the Foie Gras industry would be the people most qualified to make these assessments which is why I imagine both are represented in the group that produced the document - to keep it from becoming slanted to one side – which is why I said it had no appearance of being biased as it teeters back and forth from one side to the other. I don’t think the omission of Geese (which I wouldn’t say are totally omitted as they appear in numerous places throughout, but perhaps omitted from the section you refer to) makes the document invalid as **if** ducks are suffering and geese “are not”….. ducks are still suffering.

I should clarify: I don't believe the document is invalid. In fact, I think every participant in the debate should read the EU report, if only so that when someone inevitably quotes the passages you did, the person seeing the quote can understand that the ninety pages that precede them do not make the case as clearly as those passages would suggest.

It'd also be nice if they realized that the document is not as comprehensive as one would like. (and yes, geese are mentioned throughout--just not in the part where it would be interesting to know they came running while ducks did not). But that does require digging a bit more, which few people have the time (or, lets be honest, obsessiveness) to do. The EU document is one view into the debate: I think one needs to read that _and others_ to get a more rounded picture, which I personally believe makes the issue much grayer than either side would really like.

(edit: fixed a typo)


Edited by derricks (log)

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When I read, “Celebrate the consumption of Foie Gras as much as humanly possible” I saw, “force feed as many birds as possible” and “kill as many birds as possible” for no other apparent reason really other than to “get at those who wish to have foie gras banned”.

A stance I interpret as extreme and I simply offered an opposite extreme to demonstrate how those words may make someone feel who is against the production of foie gras and is overtly concerned with the welfare of the animals.

Joke or not – your words were most likely as offensive to those on the opposite side of your opinion as my words may have been to you.

Nathan, while I understand how you arrived at this interpretation of my words, and appreciate your taking the time to respond, what you saw and what I meant are two very different things, so I would like to offer a clarification.

I did not talk about celebrating foie gras consumption to "get at" anyone, as such tactics are not my style. Rather, I am on this earth to celebrate the things I love, and I wear that on my sleeve as proudly as possible -- it is my only agenda. That is what I meant.

Regarding the hunting story, yes, that was repulsive when I was 8; now I see it as a fact of life, and it is one I respect. When I speak of the food I eat, it is with reverence -- and I don't take it lightly.

I also want to be clear that my words here are written with no anger -- I simply would have appreciated you asking for a clarification before assuming the "ridiculous." Thanks.


Edited by Jennifer Iannolo (log)

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update on Chicago and foie gras ... 12/13/05

If the bill passes, the world's hog butcher will become the first city to restrict sale of the delicacy. It passed out of committee and could be brought to a council vote as soon as Wednesday.  The issue hasn't exactly taken Chicago by storm; most residents don't even know what the buttery tidbit is, much less care that it's threatened. But the debate surrounding foie gras has picked up nationwide, and Chicago has become a battleground that pits restauranteurs against each other, and has gourmands facing off against animal-rights activists.

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Guys, you better believe it.....soon enough all types of meat are gonna be illegal to eat. First they start with foie gras, now they're tackling lobsters. (they started a thread about the subject today 1-20-06).........can't imagine all those yummy stuff gone.....GONE!!!!

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The gossip I have heard is that Mayor Daley did indeed engineer the delay. Hizzonor is very well traveled and is very knowledgable about food and wine and enjoys his foie gras!

:cool:

As much to the point, I think: 'duh Mare' (Daley) gets significantly ticked any time anyone tries to force his hand or otherwise "tell him what to do." I would bet good money he's smelling such an attempt and balking.

:cool:

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I think this whole business of fussing over the living conditions of a bunch of ducks who're anyway going to be slaughtered a little trivial - there are significant numbers of humans living in worse conditions. More people get slaughtered in Darfur than geese in the south of France.

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I think this whole business of fussing over the living conditions of a bunch of ducks who're anyway going to be slaughtered a little trivial - there are significant numbers of humans living in worse conditions. More people get slaughtered in Darfur than geese in the south of France.

amen to that! this is also just another way to slip our liberties out from under us with snakeoil. first foie, then lobster, then veal, next thing you know we're all going to be restricted to a stone age diet of grains and asparagus! don't get me wrong, i like asparagus, but mostly on the side of something rich, fatty and delicious--hey, like foie.

heck, if this bill passes i'm gonna start raising ducks for foie in my bathroom. this bill will be harder to enforce than prohibition...

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I think this whole business of fussing over the living conditions of a bunch of ducks who're anyway going to be slaughtered a little trivial - there are significant numbers of humans living in worse conditions. More people get slaughtered in Darfur than geese in the south of France.

it is trivial, but the Chicago city councel can pat themselves on the back thinking they are doing a good thing. Seriously, wasting taxpayer money on banning duck liver when there is MUCH more going on in the world that needs attention. It's selfish and shortsided of them. I can only hope that such a mindset has a harder time taking root in other major culinary cities.

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:hmmm:

There are, to make the point more local and more specific, people in the 49th Ward in Chicago (whose alderman is Joe Moore, the sponsor of this amazingly stupid ordinance) who don't live as well as poultry raised for foie. He'd have more time to help them if he wasn't so frappin' busy legislating the diets of Chicagoans not in his ward. On moral grounds, no less.

End of dangerously political rant.

Pfeh.

:angry:

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Just reading this for the first time-I always heard Charlie Trotter was an a-hole, his remarks seem to confirm that. He rushes to defend poor helpless birds but has no problem dehumanizing a real person!

Also...can anyone tell me why his restaurant keeps getting such high praise when EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE says that many restaurants in Chicago are better, that Trotter's food is not that good and the portions are miniscule?!?! Struggling to figure this one out! Time and time again, from people here and people I know, I hear NO ONE who has been to the best restaurants in Chicago that considers Trotter's as being close to the best restaurant in Chicago, much less the country! And yet, lists like the 50 best restaurants in the world don't even mention any Chicago restaurants except Trotter's!

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