Food & Wine Thursdays: A Foie Gras Clarification

Due to a few critics who misunderstood a couple articles that I wrote about foie gras and its upcoming ban in California, I felt a need to clarify my position on it.

I was not attempting to say that foie gras production wasn’t cruel per se, but rather that it is no more (and in many cases, much less) cruel than any other form of animal slaughter and that A: unless you’re a vegan or a very strict vegetarian, you’re a hypocrite for opposing foie gras production specifically over innumerable other forms of animal farming and slaughter; and B: if your concern is animal cruelty, your efforts are best targeted toward farming practices that truly are destructive and cruel like battery farming of chickens and ecosystem-destroying Carolina hog farms.

Because at the end of the day, an animal killed for food is an animal killed for food and the efforts to ameliorate the conditions of the condemned serves only to assuage the guilt of the executioner. It’s the sort of reductio ad absurdam that any argument over the variable humanity of different types of sanctioned killing ultimately results in.

The arguments for humane animal farming do exist, but they exist for environmental and gustatory reasons because, as I mentioned before, responsibly raised meat and eggs taste better and are generally more nutritious than their factory farmed counterparts.

I do not mean to diminish the argument that the slaughter of animals for human consumption is cruel and should not happen, even if I do personally disagree with that position. I see the reasoning and moral position behind it and understand why some people might hold that position provided it is supported by a lifestyle that eschews the consumption of animal products.

But if you find foie gras abhorrent yet you still eagerly gobble down Chik-Fil-A or “naturally-raised” pork loin from Trader Joe’s, you’re just being silly. A quick reading of third-party evaluations of foie gras farming reveals that the relative cruelty of the practice is ambiguous at best, so get over it and find something more significant to focus your attentions on.

About David D.

I'm a wine professional. Like a real one who makes most of his living in wine and have for most of my adult life. I also write, but you can see that.
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