Join the discussion below, or Read more at Baltimore Sun.
#22 Feb 1, 2008
"You guys really care more about the way birds are fed than young black men being slaughtered in our streets?"
I can't speak for anyone else, J Gold, but I personally care very much about both issues. Is there some rule stating that you can only care about one thing at a time? Sad.
I would pose that same question to the two letter writers -- Shelby Strudwick and Sean Carton -- and others like them who perhaps have an unfortunately narrow view of human compassion.
On a related note, Shelby and Sean, if you truly believe that humans take a backseat to animals in any culture, in any context, anywhere in the world, you need to remove your small, foie gras-eating heads from your posteriors.
#23 Feb 1, 2008
That is exactly the problem, they aren't all drug dealers just because they are black. Yes many of them are, i'm not ignorant but the city of baltimore not caring is exactly the problem. Philadelphia held marches all over the city this year cus of outrage towards their murder rate and ours blows theirs away. What do we do, NOTHING. If it makes you sleep better at night then convince yourself that because they are black they deserve to die. Personally I believe that geese were born to die in order to feed us. Humans not so much.
#24 Feb 1, 2008
Sounds absolutley yummy to me! Pass the mustard!
How about put half the effort and passion in fighting the abuse and torture of humans in this very state by the politicians and money changers? Cost of living is exploding and taxes are drowning people in poverty, get your priorities set right!
#25 Feb 1, 2008
Dearest J Gold, this is off topic and has nothing to do with foie gras, but since you brought it up, let's talk. Why should my community care if the directly affected communities don't, worse, they lie and cover for their criminals. You have a very good point, Baltimore City does little or nothing. So please go to these crime-infested communities and try to talk some sense into them. Generations to come might be safer because of you. Have a wonderful and (safe) evening.
#26 Feb 1, 2008
Still looking for a reasonable argument as to why there is furor over people protesting foie gras and animal cruelty. Mostly I'm struck by the stupidity and misplaced anger of the trolls and others who are writing in. I have an interest in learning more abour foie gras and animal rights and human rights and civil rights so I can decide where I stand on different issues. Passion and sharing of information should never raise so much hostility and fear -- i just wonder why it provokes some of you so much. Come on, look deeper
#27 Feb 2, 2008
Leave my froi gras alone. why should i care if the duck has liver disease or not im going to eat it. I might eat it with some veal. its about time this arrogant i think im better then you peta types go home. by the way peta kills dogs and cats every year and its vp uses meds made of animal by -products. when their are no more suffering people then tell me what i can eat untill then pass me the fatty duck liver please. Its good try it you will not regret it!
#28 Feb 2, 2008
And don't give me this "Would you want it done to your child?" thing. Can it be there are people who are unable to differentiate between humans and ducks? Humans are sentient creatures with a soul, free will, feelings and an awareness of a world beyond their experience. Ducks are food.
#30 Feb 2, 2008
You don't HAVE to care, nobody's forcing a conscience on you. Eat all the fatty diseased liver you can stuff in, have at it. Enjoy it legally while you can, though, because it will soon be banned and you'll have to get your fix on the black market.
#31 Feb 3, 2008
since you didn't respond to my questions on the original story comment thread, I'll repeat them here:
-- What is BARC's stance on halal & kosher methods of butchering*?
*For those who don't know, halal & kosher butchery are carried out with a single cut to the throat, rather than the more widespread method of stunning with a bolt into the head before slaughter.
The UK's Farm Animal Welfare Council said in 2003 (source: BBC News) that the practice should be banned as it causes severe animal suffering.
Some follow-up questions. Would love to hear BARC's position.
What are the statistics globally of number of animals subjected to halal/kosher butchering methods vs. the number of ducks raised for foie gras?
Which practice does BARC find more cruel, and why?
What are BARC's plans for protesting Baltimore restaurants & delis who serve halal or kosher meat?
Why does BARC feel foie gras is a less legitimate culinary/cultural tradition than halal/kosher meat?
If foie gras was part of fundamentalist Islam or Jewish ritual, would BARC protest it with the same vigor as the current actions vs. Salt & other restaurants?
If not, why?
#32 Feb 3, 2008
I can't speak for anyone on BARC but myself. As a vegan I am opposed to any and all harm to animals. I consider killing them is harming them, obviously, and doing so by means of bleeding them out without first rendering them unconscious is heinous. So of course I'm opposed to halal butchering, I'm opposed to ALL butchering.
No, I would not feel any differently about foie gras if it were produced by Jewish or Islamic people, why did you ask that? Are you asking if I'm prejudiced against French people, because that is absolutely ridiculous. What difference does it make what culture/religion produces it? Foie gras is simply more egregious as far as the abuse of the animal throughout it's entire life, not just in the slaughtering.
BARC doesn't focus only on foie gras, if you look at our website, www.baltimoreanimalrights.com , you will see this. We are not a huge group, so we have to pick and choose carefully which campaigns to focus our time on, because we simply don't have the large numbers of volunteers that a national group like PETA or HSUS has. We are a small grassroots organization, made up completely of volunteers,(nobody is on a "BARC payroll"), so we really try to make the best use of our time. Eliminating foie gras, while at the same time educating the public about the plights of the 9 billion other factory farmed animals that are killed for food each year, is a worthy cause to fight for, in our opinion.
#33 Feb 4, 2008
I didn't ask if you would feel differently about it, I asked if you would protest it with the same vigor as the current campaign against Salt & other restaurants.
No one said you were prejudiced, but it is obvious BARC and other groups regularly target the path of least resistance when it comes to picking battles.
The fact is that Kosher/Halal cultural food traditions are political third-rails to BARC and their ilk because these groups have the numbers, money and broad political support that the French tradition of foie gras lacks.
Is is equally apparent that animal rights groups regularly target small businesses who cannot afford expensive legal representation instead of entrenched, vocal & politically-connected groups like the Jewish & Muslim-American lobbies.
Finally, a few follow-up questions:
1. Groups like BARC seem to base their decisions on a personal moral/ethical code.
Let us presume that Salt was unwilling to bend & that your group's efforts hurt their business enough to force them to close.
Where on the moral scale would you weigh taking away a family's livelihood, putting people on the unemployment line, causing a rebounding city neighborhood to lose a vital anchor business and costing the City of Baltimore one of its very best restaurants?
2. If the campaign to tell U.S. farmers what they can produce and citizens what they can eat is successful, do you realize that China is most likely to fill the growing global demand for foie gras?
Are you aware of this, and based on China's human rights and worker's rights records, do you really expect the end result of your campaign to be good for the billions of Chinese ducks who would surely face factory farm conditions many times worse than responsible American foie gras producers?
#34 Feb 4, 2008
Do you consider Procter & Gamble, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Huntingdon Life Sciences, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey, Butterball, Rite Aid, Petsmart, Tyson Foods, Burberry clothing, just to name a few, small companies? Because these are just a few of the major corporations that BARC and many other animal rights organizations are campaigning against for animal cruelty. I'd hardly call these enormous companies the path of least resistance, would you?
If there was a large franchise restaurant still serving foie gras in Baltimore, you can bet they'd be facing the same objection. The size of the company/restaurant does not matter. We're not "picking on the little guys" because we think they're an easy mark.
Having said that, all your other questions have pretty much been addressed with that answer. No, we don't target small minority groups or companies run by small minority groups, nor do we target small companies.
I've not heard of China taking over on foie gras production where the 2 foie gras factory farms in the United States left off. Can you send me something about it? I'd like to take a look. It's been banned in so many countries now due to it's extreme level of animal cruelty, and it will be banned in the United States as well. Once that happens it will be illegal for any country to send it here.
I'm wondering, do you work in the restaurant or food industry? It seems you may have more than just a passing interest in BARC and foie gras.
#35 Feb 4, 2008
#36 Feb 4, 2008
Animals have no rights. Never had and never will.
#37 Feb 4, 2008
I am not in the industry, just a fan of good food & Salt, an excellent restaurant.
I think BARC in this case is losing support from folks who, like myself, are generally in favor of campaigns against other types of factory farming, animal cruelty, etc.
Despite your rhetoric, you are indeed picking on the little guy in the case of Salt, which happens to be a success story for revitalizing a tough Baltimore neighborhood.
What riles me the most about this effort is the lack of appreciation and thought for another culture behind a food tradition that doesn't represent White College Educated Vegans.
Plus the Nanny State mentality of "we know what is good & right for the animals & our fellow man" is truly annoying and fascist, even to those who have never heard of foie gras.
It seems to me your efforts would be better spent trying to push for the most humane possible production of foie gras & keeping it in the US.
See this article below for details on how China is waiting in the wings to produce inferior product, while lining the pockets of a totalitarian regime and mocking the notion of little protests like yours.
China's Entrepreneurs Target Gourmet Food Market:
.....China has no regulations regarding force-feeding animals. In fact, the local government has a 10 percent stake in Jing's business, and he says he is not worried about the influence of animal rights' campaigners.
"Because they're opposing foie gras, their countries stop producing it. But the citizens of their countries still want to eat foie gras, so it can only mean my prospects are improving," Jing says.
Jing boasts that his product is tastier than French goose liver because force-feeding is done manually in China and not by machine, as it is overseas.
And with labor, feed and production costing just a fraction of what they would overseas, he believes China's set to be the world's top foie gras producer in five years.
#38 Feb 4, 2008
You have the right to your opinion, and I appreciate your point of view, but we have gotten far more support than criticism for our efforts. Most people do not want to unwittingly be involved in animal cruelty, just look at the widespread outrage over the Chino slaughterhouse undercover video. The vast majority of people who really look into the production of foie gras find it to be highly cruel. Thank you for your comments, though, and have a great night.
#39 Feb 5, 2008
I appreciate your manners & respect your opinion as well.
My last comment on the subject, here is an interesting piece and some good reader comments from the BBC. The story looks at the possibility of more ethical foie-gras production -- sort of free-range, non-force-fed foie gras -- from Spain:
The Holy Grail of foie gras?
#40 Feb 6, 2008
Being a French, "Foie Gras" is no national pride for me an and many others. I am really happy people get conscious and compassionate about the destiny of million of geese & ducks force-fed all around the world.
To boycott fatty liver is a small effort.
There is no hierarchy in animal and human suffering.
Improving animal welfare does not prevent people to care about humans and obviously those who use of this argument do not live in a country where you are seen as an alien when you refuse to not take part in the foie gras cruelty.
#41 Mar 3, 2008
It would be nice, for a change, if people discussing this subject would look to actual scientific research rather than bullheadedly insisting that they can eat whatever they damn well please or grossly distorting the facts and anthropomorphizing the creatures in question.
The tired "how would YOU feel if corn were stuffed down YOUR throat" rhetoric that this always seems to boil down to is as stupid and illogical as saying "how would YOU feel if you were forced to lie in the snow naked like a polar bear" or "how would YOU feel if you were forced to breathe water like a fish". Ducks, humans, polar bears and fish are different creatures with different physiologies. It would be nice, for a change, if foie opponents would consider actual scientific research on whether or not these animals are actually suffering (and by that I mean looking at a REAL BODY of scientific evidence and not cherry-picking the items you happen to like) rather than arrogantly presuming to know how ducks feel.
Consider this a call for rational, objective, scientific analysis of the foie gras debate -- something that has been sorely lacking.
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