I didn’t really want to get into a tit-for-tat debate about foie gras but someone called Sam has left a lengthy comment on my last blog post which I am responding to in the hope it clarifies my point of view.
This is what Sam has to say:
As a share holder of course you are going to side with the restaurant and the practice of force feeding geese , despite not having any real evidence to back up your assertions that this is humane and the geese are all good with it. I dont care how much you gloss it over it is still cruelty and by the way sow stalls will be illegal from 2015 in NZ .
This is my response:
Firstly I don’t say that all foie gras farming is humane and I certainly don’t “gloss over” the appalling treatment of birds in some factory farms. I have in fact, directed people towards YouTube and clips that document what I call the shameful side of foie gras. However, I also know from my own experience (and that is evidence enough for me) that this is not the norm. All the foie-gras farms I’ve seen are tidy humane places where the birds free-range on pasture until the gavage period at which stage they’re penned in groups with lots of room to move. The force-feeding is quick and the birds are not at all upset by it. Ducks and geese are not humans, they are designed to take big lumps of food straight down their necks – have you ever watched a water bird swallow a whole fish?
My point is that there are good and bad farmers. The anti-foie gras brigade choose to back up their view by focusing on the worst-case factory farms that treat their birds badly. This is like condemning all beef farming because some operators confine cattle on feedlots, or saying people shouldn’t eat pork because some pig farmers keep pigs in horrible conditions. Why do you think foie gras is any different? Don’t you think that a better response is for restaurants and consumers to support good producers by buying animal products from farms with good welfare and environmental standards – whether it be pork, eggs, beef or foie-gras? This is the policy at Le Canard.
However, the main point of my blog post was to object to the bullying behaviour of the people who have been protesting outside Le Canard restaurant every weekend for the last six months. You object to my use of the term ‘bullying’. What else do you call the behaviour of people who will not respect the opinions of others and who use intimidating tactics to make the object of their protest behave in the way they see fit? Six months of leafleting customers and waving placards outside the restaurant – not to mention the xenophobic phone calls, and demands that the chef alter his menu – certainly fits my definition of bullying.