Foie gras and flag-burning
It’s big local news around these parts that the Chicago city council has banned foie gras, a fatty treat made from the diseased livers of force-fed geese. The whole thing started from animal-rights activists, of course, so the council has jumped the goose, if not the shark, by deciding such an abhorrent practice cannot be permitted.
So what happened? Restaurants meekly removed the offending item from their menus and Chicago sailed off into a brighter, cruelty-free future, right?
Some city restaurants launched a lawsuit on Tuesday, and said they would meanwhile continue to serve foie gras, without charging customers for it. Managers at Cyrano’s bistro and wine bar in the River North district say foie gras sales have tripled since news of the ban hit the headlines. BBC News
In fact, restaurants that had never served the grey goop before have added it to their menus. The animal rights activists’ original goal was to reduce the amount of swollen goose-liver eaten. The law they got passed had the opposite effect. Most people had never even heard of “fwaa-grass”, but you tell them they can’t have any, then…
OK, I’m not totally insensitive to cruelty, and the way foie gras is made, is horrible even by the low standards of the livestock industry. But passing a law results in several layers of irony. If you wanted to prevent cruelty to geese, maybe you should educate people about the pain a goose is likely to experience when force-fed through a long funnel for three to five weeks, until its liver has swollen to ten times normal size. It’s a good bet a heck of a lot of people will turn their noses up at it once they know. Some chefs may refuse to prepare it. Eventually, a lot fewer restaurants will serve it. And wasn’t that the original point?