The NY Times regularly publishes substantive stories about the cruelty of industrialized animal agriculture, giving readers a disturbing peak over the high walls and into the windowless sheds that house the 10 billion farm animals slaughtered for food each year in the U.S. And, while the NY Times will never go far enough to satisfy those who espouse an entirely cruelty-free diet, its coverage of the horrors of factory farming is most welcome and appreciated by advocates.
Today, the Times published a lengthy story by op-ed writer Mark Bittman arguing that the recent return of foie gras in California is insignificant because it affects only 600,000 animals nationwide, which is less than the number of chickens killed each hour in the U.S: “The lifting of the California ban against selling foie gras is pretty much a nonissue, except to point out that as a nation we have little perspective on animal welfare. To single out the tiniest fraction of meat production and label it ‘cruel’ is to miss the big picture, and the big picture is this: Almost all meat production in the United States is cruel.”
While Mr. Bittman’s references to the cruelty of animal farming and his use of graphic words like “torturous” are praiseworthy, his suggestion that the return of foie gras is insignificant is perplexing. Why dismiss as irrelevant the reversal of much-needed protections that advocates worked tirelessly to achieve? Mr. Bittman might believe that “foie gras itself just isn’t that important,” but the ducks and geese who are throat-raped with a metal pipe three times a day would probably beg to differ.
Mr. Bittman: Is it too late to reframe the story by saying, “We must advocate to reinstate California’s foie gras ban AND work to help the billions of abused chickens, pigs, cows and fish who have been left behind.”
Ironically, the return of foie gras to California comes at a time when this “delicacy of despair” is coming under fire in the foie gras capital of the world — France.
Please sign the petition to re-instate the law banning foie gras in the state of California.
Filed under: Food, Opinion
Tagged with: California, foie gras, Mark Bittman, New York Times