Politics versus Pate: Arnold Must Decide
Posted On September 29, 2004
The California Conundrum
The California Assembly and Senate passed S.B. 1520 – sponsored by Senate president John Burton (D-San Francisco) – to ban California fois gras by 2012, and to prohibit the sale of the products.
Animal advocates have long argued that the production of pate de foie gras – involving the feeding of ducks and geese to swell their livers up to 10 times their normal size — amounts to undeniable animal cruelty. Gov. Schwarzenegger now must choose between politics and pate.
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I was wondering what your thoughts were on this issue, Dr. Clower. I am confident that you do not condone animal cruelty. Pate seems to be a staple in the French diet. If French ducks are treated similar to those at Hudson Valley Farms (the no. 1 distributor of foie gras in the U.S.), how could one rationalize consuming this?
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the matter.
I recently read about a growing dilemma in France. The question concerns the manner of getting the livers. Traditional methods, of course, involve freely moving Geese and, less frequently, ducks. But ducks are being used more and more of late, and also ducks that are more constrained. The economic benefit versus culinary purity of the product is what eats at the heart of the French person.
What eats at many here is the cruelty issue. We cannot, of course, condone animal cruelty. I wish I could speak to the Hudson Valley Farms methods you mentioned, but I’m not familiar with it.
Here’s the issue:
Business interests are about making money. Their outlet for that may be Health Care, Food, Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Tobacco, … etc. It does not matter as long as money is being made.
A problem we run into is that many people assume that, because people are running the company, they will be moral. This is an indulgence. A fantasy. “Tobacco” knew their product was lethal. They knew their product was addictive. And yet, they sold it to adults and minors.
A company making Pate will not be moral unless being moral is made to affect their bottom line. It must be imposed because you are dealing with a business.
Looking forward to your thoughts.