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the ethics of factory farming and foie gras


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#1 Gary Soup

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:17 PM

I have an odd connection with Gary Danko, though I've never eaten at his joint or met him. GD and I are from the same desolate small town and High School (though some years apart), and my brother-in-law's oldest daughter (by his first wife) was GD's Senior Prom date. FWIW, my BIL's assessment is that GD is a little light in his loafers (can we be sued for that?)

It was interesting and I'm glad I went. I had a fine time but I think I'm not all that into "fine dining".

[Here we go again, or Why I am a Legacy Participant at eGullet]

I would think that you have to be in "fine dining" mode to convince yourself that the pleasures of eating foie gras justify the means used to produce it.

#2 rancho_gordo

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:55 PM

FWIW, my BIL's assessment is that GD is a little light in his loafers (can we be sued for that?)

You can't get sued but who cares? I mean, other than his prom date.

[Here we go again, or Why I am a Legacy Participant at eGullet]

I would think that you have to be in "fine dining" mode to convince yourself that the pleasures of eating foie gras justify the means used to produce it.


You know I LOVE you in a way words can not express. It's futile to try.

I know you are a fan of farmers markets where farmers do not participate. I assume you shop a lot in Chinatown where the pork is from factories rather than farms. This is your right and I'm not going to argue that with you about it. (I apologize in advance if you insist on humane, farm-raised pork)


I will also grant you that fois gras production is troublesome, to say the least. That is why we have several years here in California to sort it out and come to some kind of solution.

But nothing in fois gras production (which is minuscule) compares to what your factory-farmed pig endures to end up as a cheap cutlet on your plate.

Now let's have a BIG HUG and concentrate on the things we can agree on.

"Gay people exist. There's nothing we can do in public policy that makes more of us exist, or less of us exist. And you guys have been arguing for a generation that public policy ought to essentially demean gay people as a way of expressing disapproval of the fact that we exist, but you don't make any less of us exist. You just are arguing in favor of more discrimination, and more discrimination doesn't make straight people's lives any better." -Rachel Maddow to Jim DeMint and Ralph Reed


#3 Gary Soup

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:08 PM

I know you are a fan of farmers markets where farmers do not participate. I assume you shop a lot in Chinatown where the pork is from factories rather than farms.

I can tell you that my wife does not have diseased organs on her shopping list, even organs with human-engineered pathological conditions. I have no idea where Yosemite Meats buys their hogs, but I know that in Chinatown the priorities are on freshness and as natural a flavor as possible, which is why virtually all the chickens are from Petaluma Poultry (but you probably have a problem with them too). Other than those qualities and the absence of any perceptible pathological conditions, we could care less where the critters went to boarding school. (Does anybody wonder if you treat your beans humanely?)

I realize that you might have a vested interest in bashing meat producers (or maybe you just genuinely imagine them all as a bunch of wild-eyed Pythagoreans), but even after the nth rewrite of "The Jungle," people still eat common barnyard meats; I wonder what the effect of even one best-selling book on foie gras production would do to that industry. A single ray of sunlight of the subject would probably close the books on the practice faster than all the EU White papers have been able to do.

As John Burton said, "Fuck Wolfgang Puck; save Donald Duck."

#4 g.johnson

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:15 PM

I can tell you that my wife does not have diseased organs on her shopping list, even organs with human-engineered pathological conditions.

Why does a change in tissue structure caused in vivo revolt you (if that's what you're saying) when even more radical changes caused ex vivo (by cooking) do not? :P
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#5 rancho_gordo

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:39 PM

I know you are a fan of farmers markets where farmers do not participate. I assume you shop a lot in Chinatown where the pork is from factories rather than farms.

I can tell you that my wife does not have diseased organs on her shopping list, even organs with human-engineered pathological conditions. I have no idea where Yosemite Meats buys their hogs, but I know that in Chinatown the priorities are on freshness and as natural a flavor as possible, which is why virtually all the chickens are from Petaluma Poultry (but you probably have a problem with them too). Other than those qualities and the absence of any perceptible pathological conditions, we could care less where the critters went to boarding school. (Does anybody wonder if you treat your beans humanely?)

I realize that you might have a vested interest in bashing meat producers (or maybe you just genuinely imagine them all as a bunch of wild-eyed Pythagoreans), but even after the nth rewrite of "The Jungle," people still eat common barnyard meats; I wonder what the effect of even one best-selling book on foie gras production would do to that industry. A single ray of sunlight of the subject would probably close the books on the practice faster than all the EU White papers have been able to do.

As John Burton said, "Fuck Wolfgang Puck; save Donald Duck."

Pee on me!

"Gay people exist. There's nothing we can do in public policy that makes more of us exist, or less of us exist. And you guys have been arguing for a generation that public policy ought to essentially demean gay people as a way of expressing disapproval of the fact that we exist, but you don't make any less of us exist. You just are arguing in favor of more discrimination, and more discrimination doesn't make straight people's lives any better." -Rachel Maddow to Jim DeMint and Ralph Reed


#6 Gary Soup

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:56 PM

I can tell you that my wife does not have diseased organs on her shopping list, even organs with human-engineered pathological conditions.

Why does a change in tissue structure caused in vivo revolt you (if that's what you're saying) when even more radical changes caused ex vivo (by cooking) do not? :P

I'm 50 years away from my high school Latin, but I think in vivo means "still alive', in which case I do cannot comprehend your perplexity at all.

#7 omnivorette

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:04 PM

Gary - so you're saying that it's fine with you to buy and eat pig that has been tortured to get to you, but it's not fine to buy and eat foie that has been produced by tortured ducks?
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#8 Scorched Palate

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:11 PM

Would anyone (besides me) prefer that these posts were shunted off into an thread along the lines of "the ethics of factory farming and foie"?
I'm no longer participating on Mouthfuls, but feel free to visit our blog.

#9 g.johnson

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:13 PM

I can tell you that my wife does not have diseased organs on her shopping list, even organs with human-engineered pathological conditions.

Why does a change in tissue structure caused in vivo revolt you (if that's what you're saying) when even more radical changes caused ex vivo (by cooking) do not? :P

I'm 50 years away from my high school Latin, but I think in vivo means "still alive', in which case I do cannot comprehend your perplexity at all.

Maybe I misunderstand you, but your objection to foie gras seems to be that it is an abnormal liver. (That, incidentally, is questionable but I'll leave the point moot.) However, everything cooked or dried or pickled is abnormal. So what's the difference?
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#10 g.johnson

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:14 PM

Would anyone (besides me) prefer that these posts were shunted off into an thread along the lines of "the ethics of factory farming and foie"?

Good idea.
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#11 omnivorette

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:15 PM

Agreed.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#12 Wilfrid1

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:19 PM

As a philosopher, I wonder what a "normal" organ is .. but feel free to ignore me.
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#13 g.johnson

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:21 PM

As a philosopher, I wonder what a "normal" organ is .. but feel free to ignore me.

In this case, not diseased.
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#14 mongo_jones

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:23 PM

As a philosopher, I wonder what a "normal" organ is

i think we should not agree on the normality of organs until we have conducted strenuous visual research.

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#15 Orik

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:23 PM

I'm sure Gary also avoids late harvest wines and any type of bread (which as we all know is wheat flour that's been infected with yeast)
sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns