Why do we need to ban foie gras?

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Why do we need to ban foie gras?

You may wonder, “Why can’t we just ask people to stop serving foie gras and attempt to convince them to use alternative ‘products?'”

In my experience, business owners and chefs will say whatever they can to get rid of protesters and avoid trouble. But often they don’t mean it, and will continue to do what they’ve said they’ll stop as soon as everyone’s back is turned.

For instance, last spring, West Restaurant told the media that they were going to stop serving foie gras in their restaurant. They managed to get some good publicity out of it, but then just a couple of months later foie gras was secretly back on their menu.

Meinhardt’s Market had also pulled all foie gras from their shelves. They managed to keep it off until recently. But they are definitely selling it again. Why? Is there so much demand that they are willing to go back on their word?

In May of last year, Mark Taylor of Cru wrote to me and said that “Foie is off the menu, with no return.” I obviously took this to mean that he had removed foie gras from the menu and would not be serving it anymore. But then I just saw that he has it on his small plates menu during the Vancouver dine-out. Plus it’s on his Valentine’s Day menu. Once again, what good is his word?

This reminds me of a passage in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail:

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham’s economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants—for example, to remove the stores’ humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and  months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained.

The breaking of promises by business owners has historical precedent, albeit a shameful one.

There are many examples of the dishonesty of restaurant owners, chefs, businesses, etc. They obviously have no concern for the animals whose lives are taken. It’s quite obvious that businesses are not capable of regulating themselves, if no one’s word has any value anymore.

Dishonesty is rampant in the animal exploitation industries. Huge efforts are made to conceal or distort the truth. The only viable recourse is to work to legally prohibit the sale of products that are produced through cruel and inhumane methods.

This is not to say that some businesses have not taken stands and stuck with them. John Bishop stopped serving foie gras and veal in his restaurant because both are wrong. Pino Posterraro stopped serving foie gras and has stood by his decision. Neither of these pillars of Vancouver’s restaurant community see the need to lie and deceive. Honestly seeking and facing the truth is a virtue.

I wonder how the honest restaurant owners and chefs feel about the level of deceit practiced by their colleagues?


1 Comment

Valentine’s Day foie gras protest at Cru | Liberation BC blog

February 17, 2009 at 8:30 am

[…] the lack of integrity shown by these “business” owners. (I previously wrote about it in this post.) What are their words […]

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