In recent years, the attention focused on this issue has caused many of those who enjoy eating foie gras to regard it as a guilty pleasure. We do not. We believe that dispassionate examination of the practices of the handful of small American foie gras producers supports the conclusion that their methods are neither cruel nor inhumane.
Much of the outrage being stirred up over foie gras production centers around the practice ofgavage, the use of a funnel inserted into the duck’s esophagus to force-feed grain to the duck over the final 15-21 days of its life. Those who oppose garage assert that the ducks choke, vomit, and suffer greatly because of this process. This sounds reasonable. After all, how would you like to have a tube stuffed down your throat three times a day?
However, this approach is the crux of the problem with an argument meant to play upon human empathy: it anthropomorphizes an animal whose physiology is fundamentally different than ours. Ducks and geese are waterfowl. Their digestive tracts evolved to accommodate swallowing of whole fish, the occasional amphibian, and rocks for the gizzard to assist in digestion. They lack a gag reflex and their esophagus is lined not with the delicate mucus membrane found in humans, but a thick cuticle. Their windpipe opens in the middle of their tongue and they do not breathe using an abdominal diaphragm as humans do. Air passes through air sacs located in the upper torso, prior to entering the lungs. Ducks are able to breathe, even during the brief 10-15-second process of gavage.
I ate at this offal cuisine restaurant once and like their attention to food and their commentary about how it reaches our community. I come from a family that thinks of preparation and consumption of offal as one way to honor an animal’s life. While thinking of gifts, I recently learned that fois gras is now prohibited from being produced in California which makes me :( and reminded me of this, a great read really not about duck rights exactly but about how legislature that doesn’t really have your interests get ahold of something minuscule when making their campaign.
Macklemore’s music is pretty squarely Not Our Thing but he speaks important things to his audience of mostly relatively privileged suburban white kids. I mean, better Macklemore than Mac Miller, amirite? Dude has worked hard and built his success in a respectable DIY…