The following missive from D'Artagnan keeps showing up in my inbox, so I might as well post it on up. The whole text follows, but a few prefatory comments. I'm on the record as being pro-foie, but the rhetoric on both sides makes me queasier than a funnel full of grain, and this is no exception.
First graf. "The animal rights terrorists are claiming another victory in the battle for our dinner plate." I would have thought that W&co. would have taken some of the sheen off of calling your opponents "terrorists," but guess not. Unless the PETA folks kidnapped Puck's kids and threatened to behead them unless he took foie off the menu, "terrorist" seems inappropriate. There have been terroristic acts associated w/ the radical fringe of the animal rights movement, but that does not mean that supporting animal rights makes you a terrorist. By this logic, because some Greenpeace members have done some monkey-wrenching, driving a Prius would make you a terrorist.
Graf 4. "Questionable tactics"? Sure. "Deep Pockets"? Did I miss a memo?
Graf 5. "Spread the news that the 5,000-year-old tradition of foie gras is not only delicious but also humane!" This would seem to involve a somewhat elastic definition of humane. Again, I am against the ban, but because I think that the distinction between foie and other kinds of meat is specious, and I am unwilling to give up my seat
at near the top of the food chain. Also "Why is a minority defining the framework of this debate, when those who love foie gras and want to protect the right
to eat it have not been heard on this issue?" One possible reason for the heat this issue generates is that involves two conflicting notions of rights that are a) evolving b) dodgy. Peter Singer, et al, have done much to articulate the idea of animal rights, but it is not an inherent or intuitive truth. But they do have an evolving literature. Conversely, and I welcome rejoinders, I cannot see where this idea of a right to eat foie gras comes from. Seriously. Even the right to party, or the right to fight, might be enumerated under freedom of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances, respectively, but I cannot see a legal foundation for the idea that we can eat whatever we want, more evolved than a general notion that it is a free country.
Graf 8: "Get the facts, sign the petition, and contribute at: www.artisanfarmers.org." As it happens, "the Artisan Farmers Alliance (AFA), a newly created group representing all of America's foie gras farmers and others involved in bringing artisanal agricultural products to the American table." Poking around the site suggests that it is essentially an industry lobbying group sailing under a flag that gives it a little bit more of a feelgood, Greenmarketty vibe. There is nothing wrong with getting your message out, though this comes close to astroturfing. It does seem a bit much to ask for donations for your industry lobbying group.
I am not sure whom D'Art is targeting with this missive, but it should be possible to defend foie without insulting anybody's intelligence.
The animal rights terrorists are claiming another victory in the battle
for our dinner plate. Under pressure from these groups, Wolfgang Puck
announced a program that bans foie gras from his menus. He was
"assisted" in crafting his statement by the very same people who have
harassed him since 2002 :Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the
United States (HSUS).
For D'Artagnan, this represents a threat to an ancient tradition as
well as to our business. It's a threat to the fundamental freedom to
choose how we live and what we eat.
The animal rights agenda is to eliminate all meat from our tables. They
fight this campaign by issue, by chef, by city, and by purveyor, one at
a time. Foie gras is an easy target and they have made it a cause
célèbre. They will not stop there.
Ironically, foie gras farming is just the type of small-scale,
sustainable, traditional, humane agriculture that Mr. Puck claims he is
working to promote. D'Artagnan is built on dedication to free range,
organic, humanely raised meat and the highest possible standards in
animal husbandry. We are proud to support small farms that adhere to
strict humane standards, and believe emphatically that foie gras meets
We at D'Artagnan do not object to vegetarians, and ask that they
respect our decision to eat meat. Why should 3% of the population with
very deep pockets and questionable tactics tell 97% of the population
what to eat and not to eat? Why is a minority defining the framework of
this debate, when those who love foie gras and want to protect the right
to eat it have not been heard on this issue?
Stand with us and declare that we will not allow the animal rights
agenda to dictate our diet. Spread the news that the 5,000-year-old
tradition of foie gras is not only delicious but also humane! We will
continue to support your right to eat it!
Apathy is the enemy here. Please help . Here's what you can do:
When you see foie gras on a menu or at the grocery store thank the
owner, manager and server for protecting your right to choose what to
Ask for foie gras if they don't have it
Forward this email to your friends, blog, write a letter to the editor,
your representatives, etc.
Get the facts, sign the petition, and contribute at:
Help D'Artagnan fight the good (food) fight.
All for One, and Food for All!