Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Old Man Liver

New York legislators have shelved for now a law that seeks to ban production of foie gras in the Empire State. Thank god for small mercies.

I'll acknowledge that force-feeding ducks or geese to fatten their tasty little livers seems cruel. And make no mistake, this perception of cruelty is the basis for the current war on foie gras, a war that has already led to bans in Chicago and California. In a twist, however, opponents in New York chose to argue that this delicacy, about 80 percent of which is produced in France, was potentially dangerous to citizens because the overfeeding process diseases the bird's liver. Of course, there have been no reported illnesses or deaths from foie gras made in the U.S., and further, there are only a handful of foie gras producers in the U.S., and the two that reside in New York State are artisinal farms.

Now, I'm not totally unsympathetic to some of the claims made by groups like PETA. For example, I agree that fur serves no real role in modern society. I can also respect anyone who makes the personal decision not to eat meat, and can even appreciate the morality of such a decision. Hell, when PETA gets animals to stop eating other animals then maybe I'll even pay attention. For now, however, if eating foie gras is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

Two million years ago, our forbears got tired and of eating grass and became carnivores. Scientists tell us that it was this delicious advance in our diets that enlarged human brains and lofted us to the top of the food chain. About 5000 years ago, some of those juicy brains finally figured out how to fatten a fowl liver. Toast points came much, much later. But on this day, let us stand in praise of famouse gourmands, however slow we may develop. --F

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