The Foie Gras Fight

I think there is a huge misconception about the goals of animal rights groups.  My reason is that every time an animal rights group attacks the foie gras industry, you see people defend the treatment of the ducks used to make foie gras.  Statements like:
Ducks aren't like people.  They don't feel pain during gavage.

or:
Why go after foie gras when we all know that the commercial chicken industry is a much bigger offender.

There are two key points that I want to raise about the enemy of foie gras:
  1. They want to stop the slaughter of all animals, no matter how they are treated while they are alive.  While I think they are able to perceive the areas between downright animal cruelty and the more respectful means of raising and slaughtering animals, most of these groups really want all animal slaughter to go away.  That is the end goal.  I don't say this out of paranoia, or fear that they'll take away our meatz, I say this because they think that killing animals is bad.  And, in many ways, I agree with this statement.  So, there is no lens where because commercial chicken farming is worse, that foie gras is going to be ok.  Even if the folks at Hudson Valley Foie Gras were giving the ducks reach arounds during gavage, followed by an hour long spa treatment, most animal rights groups are not going to be ok with the death part even if you convince them that gavage isn't harmful.  

  2. They are much smarter than you think.  They full well know where foie gras and commercial chicken farming fits in the scheme of animal cruelty.  The battle to stop commercial chicken farming vs. the battle to stop foie gras are very different battles.  Stopping foie gras appears to be an easier battle.  Here's why:

    • Who eats foie gras?  It is fancy-food.  Fancy food is eaten by the wealthy.  I am guessing a fairly large population of the US doesn't even know what foie gras is.  In other words, this doesn't affect most people.  You may as well be trying to ban Delorians or Personal Submarines.  So, getting federal, state and local lawmakers to make changes isn't an especially hard pitch.   Quick SAT question:


    • Who makes foie gras?  A small number of small producers that are not nearly as well funded as Big Chicken.  Animal rights groups have zero chance of shutting down Big Chicken.  For example, The Humane Society of the United States is suing Hudson Valley Foie Gras over violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The lawsuit alone has the potential to shut down the largest foie gras producer in the US.  What do you think happens when The Humane Society of the United States attempts to sue Purdue or Tyson over something like that?  
These two factors make foie gras the soft target of the Meatocracy.  The soft, buttery and delicious target.
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