Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Case for Ethical Foie Gras

I've only had foie gras once... at L'Espalier several years ago... and while it was one of the richest and most delectable dishes I'd ever tasted, I felt extremely guilty about loving it. Who doesn't when they think about force fed ducks? Well, Kenji put up on Serious Eats  a nice look at one of the three foie gras farms in the US, and makes, effectively I think, the case that it can be ethically produced. In essence, factory farming is factory farming and it's a terrible thing whether it's used for chicken eggs or 'gavage'... and both can be done fairly humanely if we want them to be (i.e.  are willing to pay for it). The key thing for me is that, as Hank Shaw pointed out, foie gras happens in the wild (albeit somewhat rarely).

So I dunno... I don't imagine many activists will be swayed by the argument... but it just reinforces the belief that the biggest source of animal suffering is factory farming, and not meat consumption per se. I know, I know, billions of people eating meat does seem to inevitably lead to factory farming... surely there is not enough land area on the planet for every cow we consume to run(meander?) happy and free until slaughter... but ensuring such a base standard of treatment is precisely how you reduce consumption because of how expensive meat becomes.