Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chicago overturns Foie Gras ban

This is an aside from my usual light fare. I by no means want to push any particular ethical viewpoint, but I think as a foodie, one should be at least cognizant of certain issues regarding how food is made, so I see this as more of an informational post...

Chicago has just overturned their two-year old ban on foie gras. Here's the NYtimes blurb, complete with mostly inane reactions that you'd expect from the internet, ranging from "I'm never visiting Chicago again" to "No one should dictate what I cannot eat. Hooray for Chicago!"

Btw, if you're unfamiliar with what foie gras is / why it may be controversial, here's the wikipedia link.

Judging from the comments, the process of making foie gras really gets at the larger issue of whether killing animals is okay for our sustenance and specifically the process in which we go about doing so. Michael Pollan's 2002 NYTimes lengthy article, An Animal's Place does a fine job of exploring this issue and responds to a lot of the instinctual responses the issue generally raises (i.e. "We're evolved to be carnivores. It's our right to eat meat.", "Everyone should become vegetarians.", etc.)

One more note on this issue that I think gets easily overlooked. Beyond the moral arguments, there are economic and political constraints at play. In other words, when the original foie gras ban was put into place, certain farmers and restauranteurs may have been negatively affected financially. In addition, enforcing the ban may have taken resources away from say crime or drugs. I'm not trying to sway opinion towards one side; however, I think a valid argument on such issues should take these external considerations into account.

Whew. I feel like I've just completed an academic essay. Okay, I'll be returning to my normally scheduled banter now.

($Chicago, $Ethics, $News)


  1. Good post. I personally can't even understand why the government is banning foie gras. the whole idea of this just bothers me. i know it may be cruel to the cute birds but why are states and cities deciding that we aren't allowed to eat foie gras anymore? i just feel like telling vegan/veggies to go fuck off if they really can't stand the fact that this sort of thing exists.

    sorry, i'm a bit cranky but i'll join in w/ some of those other commentors from the NY Times article - YAY CHICAGO!!!

  2. Hmm, to play devil's advocate, the logic for banning foie gras is similar to the logic of prohibiting animal cruelty. Things like say dog fighting have a fairly similar issue - why are states and cities deciding that we aren't allowed to have animals battle for our entertainment?