Torture for foie gras?

Torture for foie gras?
California chefs rejoiced upon hearing that foie gras, banned for sale in the state since 2012, could once again be legally sold in restaurants and markets. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

On Thursday's front page, a Times headline read: "Chefs, diners toast the return of foie gras."

Well, Times readers most decidedly did not do any toasting. At least the several dozen who wrote letters were heartily disappointed with the ruling by a federal judge that overturned California's law banning the sale of the fatty duck or goose liver.


Here's a taste of those mostly bitter responses.

Les Ogilby of Long Beach observed


Most people accept the fact that animals have to be killed to provide meat for human consumption, but does that mean that an animal must also be tortured its whole life by force-feeding?

From Agoura Hills, Barry Davis commented:

Freedom. It's always about freedom. Freedom to graze for free on government land, freedom to carry and shoot a gun wherever you want to, and now, freedom to, what, sell the product of tortured poultry?

This isn't about the freedom of a few pampered foodies. I'm a foodie too, but if what's on my plate has been waterboarded or food-boarded, I'll leave it for the CIA. This is about “what do you mean I can't have everything I want?”

Native Americans thanked the animals they ate for giving them sustenance. We used to misguidedly call them “savages.” Now who's the savage?

Diane Stanfield of Santa Monica noted:

In this age of culinary abundance, I cannot fathom the esteem given to foie gras. I can only attribute this to money-hungry chefs and the self-indulgent whims of wealthy diners. Are we to believe these chefs cannot produce great meals otherwise, and the diners cannot content themselves with the myriad choices on the menu?

Louis Cimino of Santa Monica added his voice:

Daily I see or hear of something that further causes me to hang my head in shame and apologize to the animals for what my species does to their respective species. Foie gras inflicts suffering, as do gestation crates, imprisoning calves, beating baby elephants to perform stupid circus tricks, torturing a bull to exhaustion and in front of thousands of screaming fans, and countless more hideous examples.

Despite our vast intelligence, we have never figured out how to get along — but can we at least not inflict abuse upon other innocent creatures?

And Lisa Schway of La Cañada Flintridge wrote:


I find it shocking and repulsive that a federal judge overturned the ban on the sale of foie gras in California. To call force-feeding any animal by shoving a tube down its throat so that it can fatten its liver for human consumption a “delicacy” is mind-boggling.

When did people become so numb?

The fact that this article was printed on the front page near the news of the tragic


attack in Paris only lends support to Gandhi's quote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

We have a long way to go.

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