The food police win a big victory

The Food Police are coming.

You and I are presumed no longer capable of deciding on our own which foods we are to consume, at least in California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the last minute in the current legislative session, signed into law SB 1520, a bill that bans the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras. This will eventually put out of business the only producer of the delicacy in the state. The only other American producer of foie gras is in New York's Hudson Valley, and it also faces pending legislation.

California state government, the all—knowing, supremely wise guardian of all creatures great and small, is dancing to the tune to a well—organized group of ruthless extremists. You see, they want to tell us that we can't have certain foods, because they feel so strongly that it is morally wrong for us to sup on certain traditional dishes. In their view, eating animals is the equivalent of the Holocaust. Animals deserve the same rights as people.

The chosen stalking horse for establishing the principle that humans must not be allowed to eat meat is one of the most delicious (and expensive) edible substances on the planet: foie gras.

One of the most powerful politicians in California, State Senator and Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, introduced the bill which 'virtually prohibit[s] foie gras by essentially putting the Western United States' sole producer out of business while denying chefs ready access to the hyper—fattened duck liver,' according to the San Francisco Chronicle

Foie gras is an ideal target for injecting the moral equivalence of animals and people into the dietary strictures of law. It is very expensive, and relatively few people in the United States have ever eaten it, much less know how to prepare it. It is French, and hard to pronounce ("fwah grah"), especially if you've never heard it trip from the lips of a waiter in an expensive eatery. And, it is very fatty. Even people like me, who love the stuff, acknowledge that it is at best an occasional pleasure, not a staple of the dinner table.

The alleged sin of foie gras producers is the use of the traditional 'speed feeding' method, in which grain is forced down the throat of a duck, rapidly enlarging the precious liver in a matter of weeks, right before the duck is ready to be harvested. Opponents liberally throw around the words 'cruelty' and 'suffering' to describe the process. However, anyone who has watched the annual Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest, or other events in the rapidly growing sport of 'competitive eating'  might note some conspicuous similarities, at least in the pre—harvest phases.

Foie gras is a part of the cultural heritage of the European—American community. My long—deceased Alsatian grandfather, hailing from the home of the Strasbourg goose, would certainly protest this denial of his traditional festive food, produced the traditional Alsatian way. California has accommodated the cultural culinary preferences of many other groups, including certain Pacific Islanders who slaughter and then spit roast large quadrupeds in their front yards. But some animals are more equal than other animals, at least when it is Caucasians who are being told about the limits on their freedom to "celebrate diversity."
 
John Burton even invoked a cartoon character to gin up sympathy for the animals: 'You don't need to be cramming food down Donald Duck's throat to have foie gras... [it's] an inhumane way to be dealing with our fine feathered friends." Cruelty aside, Burton is willing to refuse others the pleasures of this particular food because he doesn't particularly enjoy it, personally. "I've eaten foie gras," he added. "It ain't my cup of tea."  Maybe if he liked it, he would be on the other side of the issue? That's a poor excuse for law—making.

Burton's casual attitude toward banning something he doesn't like is not shared by the activists, though. In August, 2003, vandals did extensive damage to a shop, Sonoma Saveurs, which sells foie gras supplied by California's only producer, Sonoma Foie Gras, the same farm which will be shut down when the law fully takes effect. Earlier, vandals defaced the homes of co—owners of the shop. In addition to damaging his house, the vandals left  one co—owner a chilling videotape, showing that members of his family had been under surveillance by the violent activists, for whom cruelty to humans is of no particular concern.

The Governator, with many other fish to fry, so to speak, undoubtedly thought it wasn't worthwhile taking on the militant animal rights advocates behind the foie gras jihad. He has a budget deficit to close, illegal aliens to deny drivers licenses to, and many other worthy activities. Despite my disappointment in his signing the bill, I remain an enthusiastic supporter of his.

But I am also more than a little worried. Once you buy into the notion that somebody else's definition of 'cruelty' is reason for the state to prevent you from eating what you want, it is only a matter of time before the slaughter of animals becomes defined as 'inhumane' and 'cruel.' The vegetarian jihad marches forward.

The Food Police are coming.

You and I are presumed no longer capable of deciding on our own which foods we are to consume, at least in California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the last minute in the current legislative session, signed into law SB 1520, a bill that bans the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras. This will eventually put out of business the only producer of the delicacy in the state. The only other American producer of foie gras is in New York's Hudson Valley, and it also faces pending legislation.

California state government, the all—knowing, supremely wise guardian of all creatures great and small, is dancing to the tune to a well—organized group of ruthless extremists. You see, they want to tell us that we can't have certain foods, because they feel so strongly that it is morally wrong for us to sup on certain traditional dishes. In their view, eating animals is the equivalent of the Holocaust. Animals deserve the same rights as people.

The chosen stalking horse for establishing the principle that humans must not be allowed to eat meat is one of the most delicious (and expensive) edible substances on the planet: foie gras.

One of the most powerful politicians in California, State Senator and Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, introduced the bill which 'virtually prohibit[s] foie gras by essentially putting the Western United States' sole producer out of business while denying chefs ready access to the hyper—fattened duck liver,' according to the San Francisco Chronicle

Foie gras is an ideal target for injecting the moral equivalence of animals and people into the dietary strictures of law. It is very expensive, and relatively few people in the United States have ever eaten it, much less know how to prepare it. It is French, and hard to pronounce ("fwah grah"), especially if you've never heard it trip from the lips of a waiter in an expensive eatery. And, it is very fatty. Even people like me, who love the stuff, acknowledge that it is at best an occasional pleasure, not a staple of the dinner table.

The alleged sin of foie gras producers is the use of the traditional 'speed feeding' method, in which grain is forced down the throat of a duck, rapidly enlarging the precious liver in a matter of weeks, right before the duck is ready to be harvested. Opponents liberally throw around the words 'cruelty' and 'suffering' to describe the process. However, anyone who has watched the annual Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest, or other events in the rapidly growing sport of 'competitive eating'  might note some conspicuous similarities, at least in the pre—harvest phases.

Foie gras is a part of the cultural heritage of the European—American community. My long—deceased Alsatian grandfather, hailing from the home of the Strasbourg goose, would certainly protest this denial of his traditional festive food, produced the traditional Alsatian way. California has accommodated the cultural culinary preferences of many other groups, including certain Pacific Islanders who slaughter and then spit roast large quadrupeds in their front yards. But some animals are more equal than other animals, at least when it is Caucasians who are being told about the limits on their freedom to "celebrate diversity."
 
John Burton even invoked a cartoon character to gin up sympathy for the animals: 'You don't need to be cramming food down Donald Duck's throat to have foie gras... [it's] an inhumane way to be dealing with our fine feathered friends." Cruelty aside, Burton is willing to refuse others the pleasures of this particular food because he doesn't particularly enjoy it, personally. "I've eaten foie gras," he added. "It ain't my cup of tea."  Maybe if he liked it, he would be on the other side of the issue? That's a poor excuse for law—making.

Burton's casual attitude toward banning something he doesn't like is not shared by the activists, though. In August, 2003, vandals did extensive damage to a shop, Sonoma Saveurs, which sells foie gras supplied by California's only producer, Sonoma Foie Gras, the same farm which will be shut down when the law fully takes effect. Earlier, vandals defaced the homes of co—owners of the shop. In addition to damaging his house, the vandals left  one co—owner a chilling videotape, showing that members of his family had been under surveillance by the violent activists, for whom cruelty to humans is of no particular concern.

The Governator, with many other fish to fry, so to speak, undoubtedly thought it wasn't worthwhile taking on the militant animal rights advocates behind the foie gras jihad. He has a budget deficit to close, illegal aliens to deny drivers licenses to, and many other worthy activities. Despite my disappointment in his signing the bill, I remain an enthusiastic supporter of his.

But I am also more than a little worried. Once you buy into the notion that somebody else's definition of 'cruelty' is reason for the state to prevent you from eating what you want, it is only a matter of time before the slaughter of animals becomes defined as 'inhumane' and 'cruel.' The vegetarian jihad marches forward.