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Mar 26, 2008 02:16 PM

Foie Gras Controversy [moved from Ontario]

I would like to know what Torontonians think of the recent uproar about Foie Gras in North America.

Over the past few years I have read article after article about the “evils” of Foie Gras production and how it should be banned across North America.

Chicago has had a ban in place since April 2006 and California will be banning its production and sale by 2012.

I have trouble understanding how all this energy has been devoted to such a small cause and how many North Americans are jumping on this anti-Foie Gras bandwagon when globally 23,000 tones are produced annually.

In comparison KFC uses 736 million chickens annually which are subjected to a succession of cruelties such as mutilation, crowding, injuries, diseases, debeaking, forced molting, antibiotics, ammonia burn and heat stress.

I feel that Foie Gras does not even register as a mere blip on the global animal cruelty radar and activists should concentrate on far greater cruelty issues.

Lastly I recently read a quote that made me laugh:

“Foie Gras is a diseased product that has no place in the human food supply," (The Humane Society of the United States).

This quote made me laugh given the fact that you can’t buy Foie Gras in Chicago but yet you can get KFC at every street corner, which is of course perfectly fine for human consumption…

Looking forward to a little controversy…
N.B.I also forgot to mention how delicious Foie Gras actually is…

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  1. Your stance is perfectly logical. Aside from the questionable practices prevalent in the fast food industry (not just KFC), take a look at our friends from the sea. Go ban the sale of fish that are endangered, for example. That's a much nobler cause, and a much bigger issue, than a foie gras ban, in my opinion.

    Foie gras is one of the few true delicacies not derived from something endangered. Oh, and it tastes so damn good.

    1. How about cleaning up pork production? The pigs are in small individual pens, in large Ontario barns, with no room to move. All they can do is eat, sleep, and defecate. And the waste goes into a holding pool outside the barn, creating its own problems. But it's a big industry, and carries a lot of lobbying influence.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jayt90

        There's always going to be something, isn't there? I had someone tell me just a couple of weeks ago that I wouldn't be able to serve foie gras anymore at Eaton Hall. I'll be surprised if it goes through.


      2. So, then, if there is always a bigger problem around the corner that trumps the previous problem - then the answer is to do nothing? I know, I know...that's not what you meant.

        My point is, no matter where along the chain of "bad somethings" someone is trying to make something least they're tying to DO something, rather than nothing.

        If the hook that snags you is foie gras - fine; if it's chicken - fine. Fish, okay. Guns, got it. But what gets to me when we all stand around and try to dictate what IS a problem and what isn't - bc that's just subjective, no? Ah, poo, what do I know....? :)

        1. The claim that foie is diseased is ridiculous. Duck and geese have evolved this capacity to store fat in their livers. They gorge before migration to build up fat reserves. Gorging these birds for the production of foie is no worse ethically than feeding corn to steer to fatten them up, and probably not as bad as the methods used to produce Kobe beef.

          This whole foie gras banning movement is the worst kind of hypocrisy. Banning foie from free range animals and allowing the sale of battery chickens and pigs raised on concrete is complete nonsense and the politicians who support these measures need to explain themselves.

          1. I think the reason this issue has gotten so much attention is that the foie-gras-eating population is, on average, wealthier and better-connected than the KFC-eating population. And yes, I realize there are plenty of individual exceptions -- I'm talking averages. Still, in North America foie gras is a specialty item eaten almost exclusively by people who have plenty of money to spend on food, and also to spend on promoting whatever causes they (okay, we) deem important.

            IMO, there are many more pressing issues in terms of both agricultural policy and animal welfare, so it's not something I pay a whole lot of attention to. The question is, is political effort a zero-sum game? Does effort spent on banning foie gras diminish the effort spent on, say, banning cruel (for the chickens) and unhealthy (for the consumer) chicken farming practices? I'm not sure. You could argue that these efforts raise the profile of treatment of animals in food production, but you could also argue that it gives people an excuse to dismiss the whole issue as something that only matters to "liberal elites."