Au Revoir, Foie Gras!

Following up on a story I wrote about on the now-defunct discussion blog, “Discuss It!”…

Chicago has voted to ban Foie Gras, the delicacy that is produced by force-feeding ducks and/or geese with grain in order to swell the size of its liver, in all restaurants and food stores.

This decision is a double-edged sword. While it’s great that Chicago’s city council can see that this barbaric practice is hurtful and distasteful (pardon the pun), there are much bigger issues that need to be addressed by a city council. Even Chicago’s mayor, Richard Daley, said, when asked about the council’s proirites , “We have children getting killed by gang leaders and dope dealers. We have real issues here in this city. And we’re dealing with foie gras. Let’s get some priorities. Our priorities should be children, the quality of education. It should be seniors. We should worry about the gas price. We should worry about the global economy…”.

However, a lot needs to be said about these practices that isn’t being said– and it doesn’t stop with just Foie Gras. What about the veal industry? Aren’t the calfs being slaughtered for their meat force-fed in much the same fashion? What about the poultry industry as a whole?

I’m not a vegetarian, and I don’t take these stances because I have a social statement to make… but there is, in my opinion, an gap between the normal, everyday consumption of food and the production of a delicacy for a very small audience– and the gap was starting to get a lot narrower. The council’s decision sends a message to the food industry that people will not tolerate these practices for the sake of a small hors d’oeuvre. Will the food industry stop these practices? Probably not. But if more city councils vote on these types of measures, who knows? It’s a double-edged sword– is politics butting in where it doesn’t belong, or is it actually speaking the voice of the people and letting the industry know that this will no longer be tolerated?

The actual decision really makes no difference to me either way– I’ve tried Foie Gras and didn’t like it BEFORE I knew of how it was produced.

But this heavy-handed action by a city council makes one wonder– what is next?