“The Banning of Foie McGras”

I will begin by saying that I am heavily biased on the matter of foie gras; I love the stuff, and I find attempts to ban it to be offensive and idiotic. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t fucking eat it; if you try to stop me from eating it, I will slap your grandmother.

Sadly, California just doesn’t seem to value their grandmothers enough to avoid my wrath, and soon enough a full ban will take effect:

July 1 is the start date of the hotly debated and divisive ban, which prohibits the sale of any product derived from the force-feeding of birds to enlarge their livers — the most common way to mass-produce foie gras. (The law was passed in 2004, but included a seven-and-a-half-year grace period.)

Naturally, both chefs and lovers of delicious food are outraged; culinary hero Thomas Keller and other luminaries are currently attempting to repeal the ban while their customers enjoy Romanesque orgies of fattened goose and duck liver (duck liver being the more common form) for what could possibly be the last time in California.

Perhaps the saddest thing about the ban is the rather nutless logic that underlies it, artfully crafted by a man who I strongly suspect of fiercely masturbating to movies like Hostel:

John Burton, the former California legislator who drafted the law, has shot back at the chefs, likening the tradition of foie gras (which dates back centuries) to waterboarding and female genital mutilation.

“Why don’t you tell those chefs to have a duck cram a lot of food down their gullets and see how they like it?” he asked.

Yes, fattening a goose’s liver is exactly like having several adults hold down a screaming pre-teen girl while her aunt takes glass from a broken bottle and carves off a piece of her anatomy. And it’s definitely like simulated drowning to extract information:

“Tell me what you know, you goose bastard!”

“Quuuuaaaaaccccckkkkkkkgargleegarglescream!”

Thankfully, there are those that see the inherent flaw in this argument: geese are not people, Goddamnit!

David Kinch, the acclaimed chef at Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif., who opposes the ban, said part of the problem with the ban’s logic was that its supporters had mistakenly anthropomorphized the ducks’ experience of being force fed. “They imagine a tube being shoved down their human throat,” he said. Rather, he said, ducks have no gag reflex, nor are geese as cuddly as they appear.

Indeed, it’s rather unlikely that a goose or duck will break into song and dance its way around the barnyard while a candlestick plays the fiddle.

However, allowing for a moment the ethical objection to the production of foie gras, it’s worth pointing out what many other critics point out–that factory farming, which is far more ubiquitous in America than foie gras production, is much more harmful to the environment and moreover to food. But, as Michael Pollan rather sensibly noted, “I think it’s really a way for people to feel like they’ve done something without doing anything…there’s so many more serious problems we’re not dealing with.” Thus it becomes a matter of missing the ethical forest for the twee moral tree; that is to say, your stupid ideology is showing.

But really, why bother fixing your fucked university system when you can shit on people for eating delicious food?

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First They Came for the Pasties, and I Didn’t Speak Out Because I Wasn’t Hungry…

Then they came for the crisps, and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t have 50p anyway…

That’s right, Britons–get ready to pay an extra 20% on your beef and onion pasty thanks to Oxford twat George Osborne, who while increasing the tax on a beloved food item of the 99%, decreased the taxes for all the Lord Nimblybottoms in the financial sector:

The tax controversy, which the British press has called, inevitably, “Pasty-gate,” has come to symbolize the increasingly vitriolic debate in Britain over who should shoulder the burden of the government’s drive to cut debt and spending.

Of course the tax decrease on the wealthy pasty-avoiders is justified by the standard logic that accompanies any tax decrease for the wealthy: if the wealthy have more money to spend, they’ll improve the economy. Yes, the wealthy; not some plodding sow from Shropshire with pasty crumbs on her rubbery bosom.

Not surprisingly, the Times highlighted the pasty’s populist credentials:

At lunchtime Thursday at the closest shop on the Times list — less than a mile from Mr. Osborne’s residence in the Westminster area of central London — a line of civil servants, construction workers and others waited to pay 90 pence, or $1.43, for a sausage roll or £1.42 for a heartier steak bake.

Yup, for about a quid you’ll get a delicious pastry filled with ground beef, sausage, or whatever the hell they feel like putting in there–and that’s the same for everyone, doctors to ditch-diggers. It truly is the food of the people.

Thus, methinks this tax situation is going to get pasty.

And This Little Piggy Said “Hooray, I Don’t Have to Suffer in a Sow Stall”!

McDonald’s recently announced that it will aid its suppliers in phasing out so-called “sow stalls,” which house pregnant pigs and have been decried as inhumane:

“McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future,” Dan Gorsky, senior vice president for supply chain management for McDonald’s North America, said in a statement. “There are alternatives we think are better for the welfare of sows.”

Several states have banned have banned the use of restrictive crates by the meat and poultry industry, but with McDonald’s lending their purchasing power, animal-rights activists think the practice is nearing its end.

There’s no word yet on whether states will ban the tiny crates that are used to pen humans, commonly known as “offices.”

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