State Representative Robert Molaro (D-21st – my home district) has proposed a ban on foie gras in Illinois. Foie gras is the liver of ducks and geese that are force fed for about two weeks prior to slaughter.
Apparently he has not paid attention to the the fallout from a similar ban in Chicago or the facts that have been revealed in the debate surrounding it. He is either gullible or just publicity hungry, in which case, he should not force feed his silliness on the citizens of Illinois.
Scientific research has never proven that foie gras production, known as gavage, is painful or cruel. The throats of ducks and geese are different than ours and some research indicates that they do not feel pain when force fed. Remember, these birds swallow fish whole, sharp fins and all. Some research has shown that they actually move toward the tube when farmers enter the pen, while contradictory experiments showed some birds exhibit avoidance behavior in the presence of the feeder. For the facts, permit me to recommend Mark Caro’s excellent, and balanced book “The Foie Gras Wars: How a 5,000-Year-Old Delicacy Inspired the World’s Fiercest Food Fight.”
When and if solid research proves gavage to be cruel, then I am sure that states and nations that PRODUCE foie gras will legislate against the practice and media coverage will deter restaurants and diners from partaking in the product.
Some experts have argued that typical chicken farming, turkey farming, and veal farming is much more cruel. I do not eat veal because I object to the way it is produced. But the choice should be mine, not yours, Rep. Molaro.
Economically, banning foie gras is also a bad idea. Chicago’s ban has made it the laughingstock of the culinary world, and has damaged the reputation of the Chicago restaurant community. As a result tourism has almost certainly been harmed.
Meanwhile, Rep. Molaro would be well advised to spend his time and energy on vital issues such as schools, poverty, violence, crime, gun proliferation, highway safety, taxes, etc. He should leave menu design to restaurateurs, and meal planning to their patrons.
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