Precinct 333

Monday, March 28, 2005

War On Foie Gras?

You can abort a baby until birth. You can starve a family member to death. But if legislators in Oregon, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts get their way, it will be illegal to possess foie gras. Laws on the books will already ban the food in 2012 if the industry cannot prove its practices humane.

At issue: the force feeding technique used to produce fattened duck liver.

For the final two weeks of their lives, a stainless steel tube is inserted into the throat of waterfowl twice a day and a measured amount of partially cooked corn is pumped down the esophagus. The technique packs on the pounds quickly, creating a fatty liver.

Some say the protesters -- and now legislators -- are clueless, and scoff at the idea that birds whose livers alone are worth $75 a pound are mistreated.

Now I don't eat the stuff -- it is too expensive and sounds nauseating. Maybe it is just a matter of my having a pedestrian palate. I mean, I have no interest in sushi, either. And my consumptionof veal is rare because of the price tag, not because of any concern about the conditions in which the calves are raised. We are, after all, talking about animals. But others disagree with me.

But Gene Bauston, co-founder of the animal rights group Farm Sanctuary, says the pictures and videos of foie gras farms show force-feeding is a "cruel and unnecessary practice" that should not be legal.

"There are certain things that are beyond the bounds of acceptable," Bauston said.

Yeah, there are, Mr. Bauston, and the force feeding of ducks doesn't even cause a blip on the moral radear-screen for me. How can your moral compass be so out of whack that you would spend one minute on this misguided crusade of yours?

Genocide in the Sudan.

The horrors of abortion.

The starvation of Terry Schiavo.

Those are things that are beyond the bounds of acceptable.

So while I don't like how the ducks are treated and would never consume foie gras myself, I won't be joining your campaign.

But don't call me pro-cruelty-to-animals.

Call me pro-choice.


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