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Mar 27, 2009 11:23 AM

David Chang vs. Foie Gras Protestors..

David chang of the momofuku's is new to the battle against the pathetic foie gras protestors...

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  1. Enh, I don't know if I'd call the protesters "pathetic." I agree with David Chang, but on the flip side, I'm glad that people are thinking and caring about the quality of life of animals destined for slaughter, even if their protest tactics aren't the most effective or thoughtful.

    6 Replies
    1. re: sfumato

      If they really cared about the animals' quality of life, they would be protesting pig farms or chicken farms. The life of a goose raised for foie is like a vacation compared to the life of a chicken or hog raised on an industrialized 'farm'.

          1. re: rockandroller1

            Ah, a dittohead, just as I suspected.

          2. re: Buckethead

            Agreed. But caring about one thing doesn't negate caring about another- perhaps they DO protest other farms as well. Who knows?!

            Anyway, I do agree that their time is better spent in other ways, and this definitely is bullying. But calling them "pathetic" certainly isn't going to help them see another POV.

          3. re: sfumato

            I don't know if I'd call the protesters "pathetic"

            Neither would I.
            That's far more PC than the descriptive I would use.

          4. Good for David on his stance! I have had to deal with protesters of this type and they have never been open to rational discussion. If they believe their view point is so correct than why is intimidation so often their choice of action?

            1 Reply
            1. re: meatn3

              I can see why the animal rights folks pick on foie gras. There are certainly more pressing issues that affect far more animals, but like veal in the 80's it's hard to find a more galvanizing, media-friendly food item to attack. Both the anti-veal campaign and the anti-foie gras campaigns try to use the image of animals being tortured (tiny pens! can't turn around! force fed with a tube!) to provide a luxury foodstuff for rich, selfish diners. It's not an accurate image, but it's an emotionally resonant one and they'd be dumb to pass it by, especially in these days of populist rage at the moneyed classes.

            2. What an elegantly written piece. Sensible, compassionate, well-thought out, I have a lot of respect for David Chang's stance.

              I think this is a classic example of bullying. It is much easier to pick on little businesses, and I agree that this is pathetic. The letter borders on blackmail: Do what we want, or we will make life miserable for you. Almost mafia-like.

              I am all in favour of the position that we need to reduce animal cruelty, but I wish they would pick more appropriate targets. The David Changs of the world, who respect the provenance of their ingredients, make an effort to source ethical producers and support farms that treat animals humanely are exactly the kind of food professional they should be supporting, not bringing down. What are they doing about the big box chicken farms? The gigantic cattle lots?

              I am hoping some of them will read Mr. Chang's piece, and perhaps open their minds to a different perspective. But I am perhaps a glass half-full person...

              3 Replies
              1. re: moh

                This group isn't interested in information or any other perspective.
                They've got an agenda and are using Momofuku's and Chang's status to advance their own ends.
                If they attacked less-well-known farms or cattle-feeding operations, the media would ignore them. The workers would walk right by them. There aren't any customers at those places to attract attention. Nobody has ever heard of the company names.

                What they are seeking is "earned media." This is free media coverage, far exceeding what they could afford to buy and also appearing in the news sections of print and broadcast outlets which gives their issues more credibility than paid advertising.
                If they are really lucky, a celebrity or political figure will approach the restaurant and be persuaded to avoid it and may make a public statement against foie gras. That might catapult their issue into the tabloids or entertainment media.
                All at virtually no cost to them.

                There are many restaurants serving foie gras. To get the most bang for your protest dollar, attack the one with the most well-known name. It's potentially worth the most free publicity.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  There is a really interesting piece written by Chris Cosentino of Incanto called "Shock & Foie"

                  1. re: sibeats

                    What an excellently reasoned and well-written essay!

              2. Wouldn't label them pathetic they do have a number of points. Kind of a lame way to make a point.

                I eat foie gras and happen to enjoy it. But I've also been to a foie gras farm. Not the idilic one mentioned in the article. It read like propaganda piece. In fact I don't know of any that are run that way outside a visit of reporter. That's along the same lines as a food critic making them selves known at a restaurant and than talking about how good the service was. Usually the birds(not animals) are penned up in cramped cages. And no the birds did not enjoy the feeding. This was a small operation that was run by a very caring farmer. It is a process that is stressful to the animals. Ever since then I am well aware of what is on my plate especially the foie gras.

                Abuse of farmed animals is widely documented and must be stopped. It's the right thing to do. So if these protesters can expose producers who mistreat animals, or bring about more humane ways of farming or get restauranteurs to buy from farms that treat their creatures humanely so much the better. And there is nothing pathetic about that.

                1. The threats Chang has had to endure from the anti-foie people are tantamount to extortion.

                  Indeed there are far more many pressing issues that the protesters could embrace to further their agenda.

                  Perhaps if the protesters make good on their promise to picket Momofuku locations, they'll be shamed into retreat by customers of the restaurant and Chang supporters. The anti-foie contingent are, apparently, a vocal minority. If someone takes away their foie gras, the "silent majority" will, hopefully, become more vocal (and proactive).