Friday, August 25, 2006

West of Paris

Actually I had no idea where the restaurant was located or that it was affiliated with NSA until AFTER I stated my objection to foie gras and my plans to protest (I found out from Saundra’s post about foie gras before I had begun researching the restaurant). So I’m not singling anyone out for their religious affiliations, I could really care less what church Mr. Foucachon belongs to or if he’s affiliated with NSA. And he did tell me that he plans to look for a more humane supplier (but the production of foie gras really can’t be done humanely, because it relies on force feeding to fatten the animals’ livers) and that he took it off the menu until then. He did not mention to me that he planned on putting it back on the menu, nor that he took it off simply because he ran out of it.

As for why I don’t attack every single restaurant that serves meat, well that would be a losing battle. I’m not trying to tell people what they can eat. I do protest at KFC because they have especially cruel practices in the way they raise & slaughter their chickens, and they have quite a bit of clout and presence in the industry and could make a lot of changes if they so chose to. PETA has a campaign against KFC because they have refused to make some very minor changes in their slaughtering process (we’re asking them to gas the chickens before they are dropped into the feather removal tank that many go into alive, just to be sure they are dead and don’t die so painfully). I have to pick my battles here, and I try to pursue campaigns that have the capacity to educate people and bring about real change, and those where the suffering of the animals is the worst. I oppose ALL animal cruelty, but use different tactics in each case. For instance, I’m not going to force all restaurants to stop selling pork or even attempt to because I don’t think it would work, but I will happily educate anyone about a vegetarian diet and ask restaurant owners to serve more vegetarian options. I also freely distribute information to anyone who wants it, speak at classes or to the press about animal cruelty issues, etc.

The reason I am particularly concerned with foie gras is that first of all this is the first time I have ever heard of it being served in Moscow (in the 5 years I have lived here) and second, it is a particularly cruel practice, involving what seems to me a bit more inhumane treatment than your average factory farm. These ducks & geese are restrained, a metal pipe is forced down their throats, and food is stuffed into them until they contract a liver disease (their livers swell to 6–10 times the normal size, not exactly comfortable or healthy). Of course most farms also keep them in tiny, cramped cages during this feeding stage, just like chickens in factory farms, but the force feeding is what I find particularly questionable. Also, this food is a delicacy, very expensive, and totally unnecessary for anyone to eat it. So it’s not like I’m asking for all meat to be abolished, it would just be one small step in the right direction if foie gras was not served.

I hope I have cleared things up a bit. Mr. Foucachon, I am NOT trying to single you out based on any affiliations, I would campaign against foie gras at any restaurant I found out was serving it mostly because I have a particular aversion to this horrible practice, and it is completely unnecessary to the success of your business anyway.

I don’t appreciate accusations either, Mr. Arnold.