Foie gras – part of the larger debate

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Foie gras – part of the larger debate

A week ago the Ottawa Animal Defense League got some media coverage about their foie gras campaign. One article, Foie gras ban does little to address cruelty by Joanne Chianello ran in The Ottawa Citizen on May 10, 2009. While this was a reasonably balanced article, the closing couple of paragraphs seemed somewhat odd to me.

In the grand scheme of groceries, outlawing foie gras is a marginal gesture, unless it leads to a wider — and, frankly, unlikely — candid conversation about where the rest of our meat comes from.

The real question, then, is: Will the possible disappearance of foie gras mark the beginning of a big debate, or the end of a little one?picture-2

This confuses me because the beginning of the article does actually mention that many of the restaurants are “[committed] to using more ethically raised meat.” This in itself would seem to indicate that the debate is already happening. If it weren’t, why would these restaurants even be using words like “ethical” and “humane” or be trying to source locally and organically?

Additionally, the author ignores (or neglects to see) the debate over meat production in the United States, with the passing of Proposition 2 in California and other states moving to enact similar legislation. Proposition 2 will essentially prohibit the use of battery cages, veal crates, and sow stalls. This resolution was passed by a 2/3 vote.

Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has been on the NY Times bestseller list for about 90 weeks. The debate about food sources has led to the growth of farmers markets in cities across the country.

Additionally, the environmental impacts of animal agriculture are becoming much more well known and discussed in the mainstream media.

Foie gras campaigns are simply a part of the larger debate. One only has to look at the campaigns of larger organizations like Farm Sanctuary and The Humane Society to see that this is indeed the case.

Perhaps Ms. Chianello was just trying to make a point about the small amount of impact campaigns against foie gras may have? If so, she is certainly letting her own opinions colour her reporting. How genuine was her question?



May 18, 2009 at 12:04 am

I hate it when people call it “gavage” and then expect it to sound foreign and classy and gentle.
It’s force feeding. With pipes and tubes and funnels and confinement.

And “well the ducks overeat a little at certain times of the year, so force-feeding them to the point of death is really a natural progression…”

Mr. Flapper is offended.


May 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm

It’s so funny. I love reading those tales….
Always the same bloody arguments that make no sense
Get out of the city, forget what you see on youtube and go visit ( I said visit not destroy!) a farm. You will see! the true is out there ! Those farmers treat their duck better that you treat you dog ! I am not against or for foie gras but I am clever and I took the time to go visit a duck farm so I know what I am talking about
Thanks God ! I don’t believe everything that I reed on the internet!
Rebel without a cause! The real question is. Does you broccoli have a soul Mr Vegie?



May 22, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Well, at least we know you’re clever. And you know how to use exclamation marks. Well done.

Was the duck farm that you visited a foie gras farm? It would be great if you could point out what in my post you are objecting to… I don’t recall that I wrote about the facts of foie gras production at all, but rather was looking at the issue of foie gras within the larger debate about how all of our meat is produced.

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