RFOA is having a protest at Bistro Bobbette down in Shokoe Bottom on June 29th (Saturday) from 6pm - 7:30pm
If you aren’t aware of what Foie Gras is and why you should despise, here is a short video. (Understandably graphic)
We want to make a big stir and let people know they shouldn’t eat…
Who the hell are you to tell me (and everyone else) what they can and can not eat? You vegan fucknuts should stop wasting your time on a product with such small production and an even smaller consumer and start protesting something like the massive and awful factory farms of chicken, cattle, and pigs. Don’t be surprised if your “protest” is met with advocates of not just foie gras, but with supporters of the right to eat whatever we want to. Im also putting it out on twitter, Facebook, and tumblr to get as many people into Bistro Bobette as possible to order the foie gras.
In closing, go fuck yourself.
TOUCHE PAS A MON FOIE GRAS!
How about you stop supporting an industry that shoves a metal tube down a sentient beings throat?
You lose your rights to eat whatever you want when you deny rights to another. You have no right to their lives.
And I, as well as every other vegan, do actively protest the farming of pigs, cows, chickens, you name it. And if you think these are so awful, why do you still eat meat?
I can’t force anyone to go vegan, but I will keep educating until we end your cruelty and your ignorance.
I look forward to seeing you there and watching you try and justify murder and torture.
The notion of a society accepting an unpleasant trade-off between something valued within that society and death of innocents is not exclusive to food production. It is virtually a defining characteristic of collective social order, whether among humans or other animals. Each year in the United States, for example, more than forty thousand people are killed and more than two million injured in transportation-related accidents. Yet we accept the level of violence and suffering wrought by this human activity, with little or no ongoing debate. Why? First, because vehicular travel is convenient and interwoven with our way of life. But also because our country is founded upon the notion of personal liberty, which includes freedom of movement and freedom to choose how one travels. Even when that activity carries with it the certainty that thousands of people, including innocent by-standers, will die each year directly as a result, we implicitly accept this terrible cost in exchange for the opportunity to move around fast with relatively little hindrance. I have searched for an association of human rights activists that is protesting this senseless violence and calling for a ban on all mechanized travel. I have not yet found one.
This brings us to an issue – on the philosophical basis of pragmatism, at least – of less significance: the debate over whether our society should permit the force-feeding of ducks and geese, for the purpose of enlarging their liver for human consumption. In short: the debate over foie gras.
Few debates within the world of food are more controversial, emotional, and fraught with moral peril. The amount of money, time, and attention devoted to something that 99% of Americans did not eat last year is astounding. Just as veal was in the 1980s, foie gras has become the current litmus test for culinary political correctness. High-profile celebrity chef/businessmen such as Charlie Trotter and Wolfgang Puck gained national attention for publicly disavowing it. Even those who’ve never had any direct experience with foie gras voice strong opinions. Roger Moore is on the record against it; Sean Connery has not yet commented publicly (but is presumably pro-foie gras). And, in one of many uncanny parallels with the debate over a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, these opinions are often expressed forcefully, using graphic visual aids, personal condemnation, and at times vandalism and the threat of violence as tactics. Altogether, a puzzling way of demonstrating one’s moral superiority over someone who happens to hold a divergent belief.
Ironically, were it not for the streak of deeply destructive vigilantism present within the anti-foie gras movement, many restaurants may not have actively chosen a side on this issue. Nonetheless, after San Francisco chef Laurent Manrique was targeted in 2003 by anti-foie gras protestors, this equation changed. Unknown persons vandalized Chef Manrique’s home and shop and sent threatening letters, along with a videotape taken of him with his wife and child at their home, directly threatening their safety. The sheer depravity and hypocrisy of this attack served as the catalyst for first considering foie gras for restaurants around the country, raising the other side of the issue: whether or not as a society we will permit the views of a vocal minority to trample our personal right to choose what we will and will not eat.
Reasonable people can disagree over the ethics of one’s chosen diet and the various practices of farmers, whether those farmers produce meat, fruits, or vegetables. Fundamentally, we believe that individuals ought to be free to determine how to live their lives, including their diet. If we live in a society that tolerates the death of 40,000 people to die each year for the right to convenient travel, how can we sacrifice our right to taste, to choice, and to dietary self-determinism?
We respect the right to oppose the production and consumption of foie gras. We relate to many of the reasons that some choose to do so. However, we no more cede control over our morality than we would presume to compel someone else to conform to our notions of how they ought to live their life. We do not grant permission to someone who has no legal, moral, or spiritual authority to impose their beliefs upon us, whether that person is demanding we adopt their point of view regarding foie gras, abortion, or what books we should read. These are all personal choices and should remain so.
In recent years, the attention focused on this issue has caused many of those who enjoy eating foie gras to regard it as a guilty pleasure. We do not. We believe that dispassionate examination of the practices of the handful of small American foie gras producers supports the conclusion that their methods are neither cruel nor inhumane.
Much of the outrage being stirred up over foie gras production centers around the practice of gavage, the use of a funnel inserted into the duck’s esophagus to force-feed grain to the duck over the final 15-21 days of its life. Those who oppose gavage assert that the ducks choke, vomit, and suffer greatly because of this process. This sounds reasonable. After all, how would you like to have a tube stuffed down your throat three times a day?
However, this approach is the crux of the problem with an argument meant to play upon human empathy: it anthropomorphizes an animal whose physiology is fundamentally different than ours. Ducks and geese are waterfowl. Their digestive tracts evolved to accommodate swallowing of whole fish, the occasional amphibian, and rocks for the gizzard to assist in digestion. They lack a gag reflex and their esophagus is lined not with the delicate mucus membrane found in humans, but a thick cuticle. Their windpipe opens in the middle of their tongue and they do not breathe using an abdominal diaphragm as humans do. Air passes through air sacs located in the upper torso, prior to entering the lungs. Ducks are able to breathe, even during the brief 10-15-second process of gavage.
Dr. Jeanne Smith, an avian veterinarian who investigated Sonoma Foie Gras, in 2004 testified before the California legislature that tube feeding is the medically accepted way of feeding ill or injured ducks and geese, a practice she regularly teaches her clients to perform for home care of their birds. The principal difference between the feeding she saw at Sonoma Foie Gras – compared to her clients’ injured tube-fed birds – was that the foie gras ducks were unstressed by the process. This is inconsistent with the picture of tortured, abused birds enduring an inhumane feeding procedure. Similarly, a delegate from the American Veterinary Association who visited Hudson Valley Foie Gras in 2005 announced that his personal position on the foie gras issue changed to the positive as a result of his visit, indicating that “tube feeding is less distressing than taking the rectal temperature of a cat.” As recently as last month, a journalist from the Village Voice ran a lengthy expose on American foie gras and concluded there is little evidence to support the argument of cruelty and suffering among the ducks.
The key to understanding the foie gras debate is to recognize that the issue has less to do with science, fact, or finding the truth about whether the treatment of these animals is humane, inhumane, or somewhere in between. Quite frankly, all of that is distraction. The only way to understand this issue is to regard it for what it truly is: naked political opportunism.
On a per-capita basis, the average American eats approximately 220 pounds of meat each year. Of that total, foie gras represents approximately four one-hundredths of an ounce per person. This is less than a smudge. On that basis, eliminating all foie gras consumption in the United States would be the equivalent of converting a paltry 3,800 meat-eaters into vegetarians. Put into context, auto fatalities already eliminate – every year – the equivalent in meat consumption of more than ten times the entire U.S. market for foie gras. This may explain why the anti-foie camp is noticeably silent on the issue of traffic fatalities. Car crashes are actually working in their favor.
Foie gras serves as a spearpoint issue for anti-meat activists not because the practices of foie gras producers approach anything close to the worst within the world of animal husbandry, or because the industry itself is significant in size or growth. By comparison, Americans ate more than ten times more bison meat last year than foie gras. Really, it’s that small.
Foie gras farmers – and those who serve it – are targeted for simple and eminently practical reasons: This is quite literally the smallest and most defenseless segment of the U.S. meat industry. There are only three producers in the U.S. Fewer than one in a hundred persons ever eat foie gras, and when they do, it is infrequently and in small amounts. Thanks in part to Walt Disney, the lovable duck serves as a great mascot for a publicity campaign. And, while it is of dubious validity as a physiological comparison, it’s easily within the grasp for most of us to empathize with the horror of being force-fed through a tube.
Working to ban something that 99% of people never eat is not an act requiring great moral or physical courage in the same vein as was, say, the fight for civil rights in the U.S. or the fight for self rule in India. By comparison, the anti-foie gras movement is – at best – founded upon a shrewd political calculation in which the professed indignation of a few is used to harness the indifference of the many to the inherent political cowardice of elected officials, in order to achieve a desired political outcome. In essence, it’s a confidence game in which participating meat-eaters, by agreeing to condemn something that they don’t care about, receive the equivalent of a get-out-of-jail card, i.e., the right to feel slightly less guilty as they bite into that factory-farmed McNugget. Guilt and moral superiority are tradable currencies; the anti-foie gras camp exploits this to the hilt. And we let them.
The attack on foie gras consumption in the United States is therefore a tactic, similar to the bombing of Baghdad. This is a relatively easy target, intended to shock the American public into putting animal rights at the forefront of public policy. Don’t start with a full frontal assault on a food that everyone eats – that would be futile. Better to pick off an easy target first and to make a public example of it.