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Food Self-Righteousness Is For Assholes

Gawker calls foie gras eaters lots of bad names. A response.

By Troy Johnson

You can read Gawker’s original post here…

Yesterday, a federal judge overturned the state of California’s ban on foie gras. Bad news for people duped by animal rights extremists into thinking the ban was a good idea in the first place.

If you’re a journalist who brashly calls chefs assholes for serving foie gras, I have news for you: You’re projecting your own assholishness.

You probably don’t know the farmer behind Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras had worked extensively with animal rights activists to make his farm as ethical and humane as possible. And the ban—which wasn’t the most democratic of processes—destroyed his family farm. Ironically, the ban forced him to move his flock to a Canadian farm that may or may not have as humane practices as he did. So those birds probably wouldn’t thank the animal rights activists if given the opportunity.

If you’re a journalist who brassily trumpets your self-righteousness about food choices and calls foie gras eaters a bunch of assholes, there is more news: Again, you’re spraying your own assholishness all over the place and we’d like for you to put a lid on it for the sake of intellectual hygiene.

Foie gras is made by mimicking an act ducks and geese perform on themselves, and are evolutionarily designed to handle. If you think force-feeding the birds is the equivalent of Abu Ghraib, you’re a big fan of hyperbole but not so enthusiastic about facts. You might not know that ducks force-feed themselves every winter to fatten their liver, thereby giving them enough energy to fly south. You may not know they have a very thick cuticle to be able to withstand the force-feeding they put themselves through. You may not know they’re evolutionarily designed with no gag reflex, probably for this reason.

Many people believe that eating animals is something humans have been doing for millennia and are justified in doing so. I’m not even arguing that position in this blog post. I’m arguing that humane, respectable foie gras farmers are nowhere near the tortuous villains that animal rights extremists, with the help of Hollywood and now Gawker, have duped people into believing they are.

We agree on one thing. If someone truly believes that gavage is animal abuse and/or torture, and they proudly support abusing and torturing animals… they are, indeed, an asshole.

But here’s the rub. After extensive research into the topic, one of the world’s leading organizations on animal welfare—the American Veterinary Medical Association—refused to take a stance against foie gras, let alone call it torture. A similarly extensive study by the EU’s Committee on Animal Health concluded it was detrimental, but admitted to having no “conclusive” evidence.

You’re right. It is universally accepted that people who enjoy torturing animals are sick and mentally disturbed. It is not universally accepted by the world’s foremost leading experts on animal welfare that foie gras is torture at all. People who continue to propagate this “torture” party line without showing ample research to back up their claims are called “Gawker writers.” I have another, more accurate name for them: Propaganda Victims.

And if that Propaganda Victim is calling foie gras eaters assholes—and yet himself eats chicken—then I have another, more accurate name for him: Massive Hypocrite. Industrialized chicken farming is by far the greatest atrocity Americans are currently committing against the animal kingdom, and affects billions more animals.

If you deliberately spread extremist animal rights propaganda as a journalist, you are an asshole. I don’t think I’m being extravagant in my judgment here. It’s hardly a radical position. There is no amount of hyperbolic name-calling that outweighs the real facts about humane foie gras farming.

Vlad the Impaler probably liked impaling people with stakes up the butt. And that has absolutely nothing to do with foie gras.

He is remembered by history as an asshole. And if you call people assholes for their food choices, you will be too.

ALSO READ: Our initial take on why the foie gras ban was a really bad idea that we supported (which makes no sense until it does).

Food Self-Righteousness Is For Assholes

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