Foie gras madness

by Michael Alderete on 4/29/2004

Continuing our theme of ranting about idiotic legislation, Tuesday’s Chronicle carried an article about a proposed ban on foie gras. That’s right, a new law banning the production or sale of foie gras anywhere in California.

The reason is the supposedly inhumane treatment of the ducks who are the source of foie gras (which is duck or goose liver, specially fattened). Actress Bea Arthur called foie gras production “a nightmarish industry.”


Let’s face the facts. Meat production in the United States is a nightmarish industry. Go visit a cattle production facility one of these days, that’ll show you inhumane. Or pork, or chicken. Or read Fast Food Nation, that’ll turn you into a vegetarian, at least for a while. The factory-style production methods used to produce enough meat to put into supermarkets across the US would make most people vomit if they saw them first-hand.

Foie gras production is no worse than any other form of meat production, and — by the very nature of how the ducks are fattened up, and the product that is desired — it’s actually better than most. That’s one of the reasons foie gras is expensive, you actually have to treat the animal pretty well.

People like Bea Arthur, who want to pass legislation outlawing sale or production of foie gras, are one of three things. I suspect that most of them are just plain ignorant or stupid. Then there are the hypocrites, who think that foie gras production is somehow different, worse, than the rest of the meat industry. “I eat meat, but foie gras is inhumane.” Bullshit. It’s all or nothing.

Then there are the Radical Vegetarians, for whom this is the thin tip of the wedge. First they’ll get foie gras banned. Then veal. Then it’s on to hamburgers and bacon.

OK, maybe I’m kidding about the Radical Vegetarians…

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