Tomorrow marks the ban on foie gras in Chicago. I’m sure animal rights activists will be celebrating but I’m adding this to the list of reasons NOT to visit Chicago. I love foie gras but that is not the reason this legislation bothers me. What I find most troubling is the inconsistent position on animal rights. With this legislation, I’m to assume that it is acceptable to treat animals as poorly as they are in most livestock facilities but one type of forced feeding is not acceptable. I would argue that most poultry raised for foie gras are treated better than most other livestock.
I love to cook. I’ve killed countless fish and crustaceans with my hands. Each time I take a life to feed myself I consider the sacrifice. I treasure the food and treat it as though it is sacred. Something (many times, something cute) had to be slaughtered for my meal. I’ve seen livestock raised humanely and with great care for the animal’s wellbeing. I’ve also seen the way most animals are raised and it’s not a good life. As such, I try to source my livestock from people who care about the animals. From small producers that I’ve met with personally and discussed their methods of raising and slaughtering animals to medium sized producers like Niman Ranch, I try to get my meat from people who care.
If you’re a vegetarian and I disgust you, I completely understand your position. I respect vegetarians who have a consistent position about animal rights. However, if you eat meat not sourced from humane producers (the vast majority out there) and you’re freaking out about foie gras, save your breath. Don’t bother arguing with me until you’ve visited the places where your meat is raised and slaughtered.
This legislation in Chicago is absurd. If a ban on foie gras is appropriate, it’s time to change the way the majority of livestock is raised and slaughtered or we should just ban all meat.