Thursday, May 18


I was unaware that the foie gras fight had ventured all the way here to Philadelphia, but this Inquirer story set me straight with a wealth of interesting tidbits. You could say it's overstuffed with choice morsels.

"Councilman Jack Kelly has a new suggestion for how to serve the goose-liver delicacy: not at all. Kelly plans a bill that would ban the sale of foie gras, which he says involves unspeakable cruelty to geese and ducks."

But we must hear the rationalizations well-reasoned arguments of the foie-gras industry titans, mustn't we? "People come in here and they want foie," said Christopher Lee, the executive chef. "We know what to do with it. If they're going to save up for six months to come here for their anniversary, they should be able to get what they want."

And if they want bald eagle for their anniversary, so be it. Or dolphin. Or human babies. Because after all, they saved up for six months for it, and that's the only criterion that matters.

"Kelly's idea is modeled after a bill passed last month in Chicago. He said yesterday that he hadn't known about foie gras until being asked about it by someone who knew about his push to improve city animal shelters." Uh oh, sounds like we're due for the usual "city slickers don't understand farm life" tripe - yep, here it comes, right on schedule: "Joel Assouline, who supplies roughly 400 local restaurants with caviar and foie gras, said the squeamishness was a result of not knowing where food comes from." (Exactly true except for the "not." People eat foie gras all the time not knowing where it comes from. It's when they do know that they get, ahem, "squeamish.")

"Has [Kelly] ever been to a farm?" Assouline continues. "The whole issue, if you look at it really closely, is that farming of animals is not a really nice business. If you see chickens piled up in a little cage or veal being raised, the images are not very pretty. The way I look at it is, it's part of the natural cycle." That's a convenient way to look at it, Joel, since you're too lazy and stubborn to adjust to reality, but force-feeding geese and ducks, piling up chickens in a little cage or confining baby calves to crates has nothing whatsoever to do with "the natural cycle." What it does have a lot to do with is greed and heartlessness.

Here's the money quote: Kelly "voiced little sympathy for businessmen like Assouline. 'They should diversify,' he said. 'Let them grow corn or something. Nobody should be in this business.'" Right on. As I've said before, we don't cry about putting drug dealers "out of business," so why is the fact that someone's been doing something for a long time any kind of rational concern, if what they're doing is reprehensible? Nobody, indeed, should be in the business of animal cruelty. It's just that simple.

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