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the ethics of factory farming and foie gras


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#31 g.johnson

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:49 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)

Heck, I even eat water bamboo that has had its stalks bloated by a deliberate infestation with wild rice smut. It's delicious. But it doesn't answer to the name of "Wilbur" or "Donald."

Do I understand you to mean that you beleive that fattened ducks are suffering as a result of having a diseased liver and it is that suffering that you object to rather than the pathology per se?

If so, fair enough, but I think you then have to answer rancho_gordo and omnivorette's question on the cruelty of factory farming in general.
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#32 Gary Soup

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:50 PM

To Rancho's point earlier - he is saying that the treatment of factory farmed pigs is far worse than the treatment of foie-producing fowl.

Examples, examples, examples, please. Point fingers, name names. Innuendo and rumors are for Presidential administrations, not message boards.

#33 omnivorette

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:50 PM

I understand. I'm interested in the difference, if any, between eating foie and factory farmed pork, as Gary seees it.
"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

#34 Orik

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:51 PM

the force feeding via tubes.

I thought it's pretty well established that this doesn't cause any pain to the ducks. (neither directly observed responses, nor change in pain related hormone levels). Of course if a farmer is not careful and injures the birds in the process that's a different story, but then you're talking about defects in the farming methods.

edit:

i do think, however, that the pro-foie lobby should look for better arguments than "the ducks' livers would expand similarly in the wild if they ate as much". yes, and calves in the wild would also be as tender if they also chose to live in tiny boxes.


why should the pro-foie lobby be required to look for any kind of argument? that the government is allowed to prevent this activity because Garry Soap doesn't like fatty liver is ridiculous. If he were to argue that he thinks cows are holy and eating them is unnatural, would the govenrmnet be able to ban raising them?
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#35 Wilfrid1

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:58 PM

But I suspect his focus is not really on toxicology but on ethics.

I don't wish to put words into his mouth but the phrase "my wife does not have diseased organs on her shopping list, even organs with human-engineered pathological conditions" suggested to me that toxicology or something like it was exactly what Gary was worried about.

I know, but I am trying to find an interpretation which makes sense. :P
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#36 mongo_jones

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:59 PM

i think that the arguments in favour of eating free-range, grass fed cattle etc. could be equally applied to ducks and geese. sure, migratory birds gorge themselves, but i am assuming that they do not take turns to insert feeding tubes into each others' throats (however, i am not a bird enthusiast--perhaps ranitidine could offer some clarity on this point). i am all for eating free-range, grazing animals, and similarly see no reason why people shouldn't hunt and eat wild ducks and geese who've engorged their livers prior to migration.

in the meantime, the ducks may or may not feel pain from the feeding tubes (or insertions) but exploiting a very stupid animal's instinctive responses to make their livers grow to xxxl proportions doesn't seem right to me. now you will tell me that skinny cattle aren't slaughtered either. see above for my feelings about free-range meat.

i should add that my general qualms about foie gras are quite convenient since i can't afford it.

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#37 omnivorette

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:01 PM

I'm sure the conditions of poultry which produce cheap chicken liver are oh so so much better than the conditions of those poor little 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

#38 mongo_jones

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:01 PM

edit:

i do think, however, that the pro-foie lobby should look for better arguments than "the ducks' livers would expand similarly in the wild if they ate as much". yes, and calves in the wild would also be as tender if they also chose to live in tiny boxes.


why should the pro-foie lobby be required to look for any kind of argument? that the government is allowed to prevent this activity because Garry Soap doesn't like fatty liver is ridiculous. If he were to argue that he thinks cows are holy and eating them is unnatural, would the govenrmnet be able to ban raising them?

they shouldn't be required to look for an argument--i didn't mean that. nonetheless, this is a common response from many folks who get worked up about these things.

i'd be opposed to bans on cow slaughter on the basis of their possible divinity. however, i could be in favor of bans on slaughter of cows (or any other animal) depending on the conditions in which they are raised and slaughtered.

edit:

I'm sure the conditions of poultry which produce cheap chicken liver are oh so so much better than the conditions of those poor little ducks.


again, this is a very limited argument.

Edited by mongo_jones, 31 March 2006 - 10:05 PM.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#39 g.johnson

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:03 PM

This is the 1998 report from the EU Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare.

Although the committee admits that the data is patchy they conclude (p65) "that force feeding, as currently practiced, is detrimental to the welfare of the birds."

Interestingly they seems as much concerned with the housing of the birds during the 2/3 week final fattening period as the force feeding itself.

I confess to being an utter hypocrite on this matter. I would prefer that animals are treated humanely and endeavour not to buy from factory farmers where possible but I'll still buy factory farmed meat when that's all I can find.
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#40 Orik

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:03 PM

in the meantime, the ducks may or may not feel pain from the feeding tubes (or insertions) but exploiting a very stupid animal's instinctive responses to make their livers grow to xxxl proportions doesn't seem right to me.

so don't do it. I know you've tried to preemt this argument, but isn't it funny how well correlated those forms of middle class ethics (mostly "ethical shopping") are with socio-economic status and geography?
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#41 omnivorette

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:05 PM

exploiting a very stupid animal's instinctive responses to make their livers grow to xxxl proportions doesn't seem right to me

Tell that to the liquor and fast food industries. :P
"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

#42 tanabutler

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:05 PM

I'm sure the conditions of poultry which produce cheap chicken liver are oh so so much better than the conditions of those poor little ducks.

Factory-raised chickens are another abomination. Debeaking, without anesthesia, for one thing. And this on both broilers and egg-layers. It is horrifying.

#43 Orik

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:06 PM

I'm sure the conditions of poultry which produce cheap chicken liver are oh so so much better than the conditions of those poor little ducks.

Factory-raised chickens are another abomination. Debeaking, without anesthesia, for one thing. And this on both broilers and egg-layers. It is horrifying.

mongo - see?
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#44 mongo_jones

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:06 PM

in the meantime, the ducks may or may not feel pain from the feeding tubes (or insertions) but exploiting a very stupid animal's instinctive responses to make their livers grow to xxxl proportions doesn't seem right to me.

so don't do it. I know you've tried to preemt this argument, but isn't it funny how well correlated those forms of middle class ethics (mostly "ethical shopping") are with socio-economic status and geography?

i encourage you to send me vast amounts of money with which to increase my exposure to fine foods.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#45 Wilfrid1

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:06 PM

A purely logical point for anyone who cares:

If it were the case that factory pigs suffered more than foie gras ducks, it would not follow that anyone who supports the former through purchasing and eating ought also support the latter.

For example, just because it is worse to shoot someone than to punch someone, it does not follow that anyone who has done the former ought to do the latter too.

More interestingly, we cannot even convict someone of hypocrisy if they eat factory pork but refuse foie gras - not unless their principle is "I will not eat meat if the animals have been treated cruelly in any way". But they might have some different principle: "I will accept cruel treatment of animals in order to make available an inexpensive meat to a mass market at an affordable price, but not to make available an irrelevant and expensive delicacy prized only by heartless gourmets."
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