America has its eye on Chicago, wondering which jackass will be the Rosa Parks of the foie gras resistance:*
In one of the more unlikely (and opulent) demonstrations of civil disobedience, a handful of restaurants here that never carry foie gras, the fattened livers of ducks and geese, featured it on the very day that Chicago became the first city in the nation to outlaw sale of the delicacy.
I have here and there mused on this ban and its meaning, but this does almost as much as a yellow bikini to bring me a little closer to PETA's point of view. Eating well, in any sense of the term, involves respect for ingredients, and for those of us to choose eat meat, that goes double for the animals we eat. Putting foie gras on pizza, or a "Vesuvio-style entree pairing foie gras and tenderloin ($33.95) just to buck the new ordinance," is disrespectful. I do not support a foie gras ban, because the suffering it alleviates is minute in scale compared to what happens to create McNuggets. Foie gras is a red herring: like so much in American culture, the foie gras comes out of a focus on consumers, rather than producers. Even incremental improvements in the life of the average Tyson chicken would do far more to advance the ethical treatment of animals. Indeed, for a vegan to make foie gras a focus seems morally dishonest -- somewhat akin to the kind of extreme cases anti-abortion crusaders focus on. That said, adding foie gras to stuffed pizza for the sake of being "politically incorrect" is the kind of oafishness that frequently makes it hard to take Chicago seriously.**
*Here is the text of Thoreau's essay to clip and save before you storm the barricades with your fleur de sel.
**I lived there for five years, and enjoyed it, mostly.