Foie gras – part of the larger debate
Category : Uncategorized
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.
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?