Calif. Serves Up ‘Quacky’ Logic

Thursday, 07 Jun 2012 10:52 AM

By Chris Freind

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If it talks and walks like a duck, then it must be . . . human?

Such is the quacky rationale of many activists as they hoot about animal-cruelty (aka being non-vegetarian), all the while grousing about “inhumane” treatment.

foiegras.jpg
Protesters shout slogans in front of the 'Melisse' eatery in Santa Monica.
(Getty Images)
Perfect logic from Vegan Central.

Of course, they conveniently overlook that “inhumane,” by definition, can only apply to humans, and animals don’t have the same rights afforded people. Common sense tells us that outright animal cruelty, such as when Michael Vick ran a dog-fighting ring, is, and should be, against the law. But doggone it, when we start listening to fanatics who want to outlaw everything related to consumption of animals, we become sheep being led to slaughter.

These extremists are irrational, but they’re not dumb. They target areas with liberal populations, self-righteous legislatures, and city councils that think banning things is their paternalistic responsibility. Nowhere have these folks been more effective than the People’s Republic of California, where for years restaurant patrons have been harassed for their love of certain delicacies. The animal rights folks claim their mission is simply one of education, yet restaurant owners feel threatened and their customers intimidated.

And with good reason, because the fanatics have just scored a “whopper” of a victory as one of the all-time greats is set to be outlawed, statewide, on July 1.

So what was their “beef” this time? Liverwurst? Tripe? Nope.

No, the big “flap” in the Golden State was regarding foie gras, which is French for “really good food” According to the non-carnivores, the methods employed in making the delicacy are “inhumane.” The duck is fed a constant diet so that it fattens up and its liver swells to several times its “normal” size.

The animals are then “put out to pasture,” sent to finer culinary establishments so they can end up in our stomachs. (Kind of “winging” it here, but the fact that the duck’s liver lands so close to our livers really has a poetic, full-circle effect.)

So what’s the big deal?

If you look at the facts, not much. If you buy into deliberate misinformation, a lot.

There is more than one way to skin a duck, so let’s look at the real picture. Ducks have no gag reflex, so the “force-feeding” is not painful. Sure, it looks bad when you see the video of the feeding tube inserted into the throat, but I saw humans doing that all weekend at the Jersey Shore.

Interestingly, both were intaking grain-related products: cornmeal for the duckies, and grain spirits for the humans. Neither seemed to mind.

Speaking of New Jersey, a fascinating point comes to mind. Every spring, birds making one of the longest migrations on the planet stop on the shores of the Delaware Bay. Why? To gorge themselves on the eggs of horseshoe crabs. Since their journey originates at the southern tip of South America and ends near the Arctic, they need a tremendous amount of energy. Since there aren’t any service plazas along the flyway, our aviary friends eat before they start their trip — a lot.

Ditto for the stop over.

Interestingly, something happens to these birds as they gorge themselves. Their livers swell to several times “normal” size.

Given the “inhumane” nature of such an event, horseshoe crabs should stop laying eggs on the beach. It should also be illegal for birds to engage in any such feeding activity.

Enforcement of this policy guarantees that the problem will be solved, and these migratory birds will never have to deal with large livers again.

They will all be dead from starvation.

Let’s try looking for consistency from the “vegetarian outreach” side of the debate. (As an aside, what does that oft-used phrase mean? Is it: “Help me! I can’t take it anymore . . . I’m about to eat a Big Mac! Quick, I need an intervention!”)

As a result of extremists, some restauranteurs have voluntarily taken foie gras off their menus. These are victories for the vegans, primarily because too many business people are cowards.

Instead of banding together and shelling out the money to hire the best attorneys, PR firms, and yes, lobbyists, to represent their interests, too many owners and chefs cave in at the first ripple of controversy. Tough to stomach, but birds of a feather flock together. And the restaurant owners keep getting plucked.

Their actions only embolden their adversaries. They think that by appeasing the protesters, they will be left alone. Dead wrong. Every victory scored by the other side only reaffirms their moral authority, and they will be back.

Ducks today, veal tomorrow, then on to tuna, and who knows what next. Just look at Whole Foods, which banned lobsters and soft-shell crabs, no doubt because of the “inhumaneness.”

And shame on Californians for allowing their elected officials to pull a bait-and-switch. At a time when the state is virtually bankrupt, with job opportunities plunging, taxes increasing, and a budget deficit larger than the GDP of many countries, the legislature and governor ignore these real, human, problems and targets foie gras.

Now, it’s people who are getting force-fed, but duck livers are safe. Hollywood couldn’t have scripted that tragedy any better.

Bottom line regarding foie gras: no skin off my back. It will always be available somewhere. More important, cowardly restaurant owners and chefs who cave in to the pressure tactics of extremists should be more concerned about their own “guts” than those of a duck.

And that’s no bull.

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Friendly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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