Foie gras and the French

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Foie gras and the French

petitioningA couple of us went out on Monday and Tuesday to collect signatures for Liberation BC’s campaign to ban foie gras in Vancouver. It was cold but many people stopped to sign.

One guy walked by and took a leaflet, then came back to hand me the leaflet. He said he was French, so there wasn’t any point in giving him the leaflet. But he was very nice and we talked for a bit. He agreed that it was bad for the animals but that the taste was very good. We’ve never argued that, so I pointed out to him that our issue with foie gras is the force-feeding, which is detrimental to the birds’ health and welfare. He ended up agreeing that it was bad, but that he couldn’t agree with us to ban it because he was French. He did, however take the leaflet with him and promised to read through it instead of giving it back to me.

I think it’s actually come out about 50/50, that French people either agree or disagree with us. One time a French veterinarian stopped to talk to us and signed the petition. He was very proud of having managed to get a foie gras farm in France closed because of the way they were keeping their animals.

It’s interesting, this idea of tradition trumping everything else. I read recently of the chef at Arpege restaurant deciding to stop serving meat in his restaurant (back in 2001 – I think he has since started again). Almost all of the criticisms were based on the issue of tradition.

How can tradition be the justification for allowing animals to suffer for a delicacy? Slavery was a tradition. Women’s suffrage went totally against tradition. Blind adherence to tradition is simply ignorance and fear of change.


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