Force-Feeding for Foie Gras

I’ve just written a substantive comment on a post by Michael Ruhlman about foie gras that’s not force-fed. See, Ruhlman uses the existence and deliciousness of (more) humanely produced foie gras in support of an “Oh, lighten up!” attitude about force-feeding. I expected the opposite.

As you might think, his argument is weak and sometimes quite weird. You might get an interesting read out of the original post and my (and other) comments; let me know what you think. Or, better, let Ruhlman know.

6 thoughts on “Force-Feeding for Foie Gras

  1. Nathan Peretic April 17, 2008 / 8:55 pm


    I read Ruhlman’s post earlier today before you again brought it to my attention. I confess, I agreed with Ruhlman’s take on the subject without giving it any further thought.

    Having read your comments, I’ll weigh in here as opposed to his blog since my comments are broader ranging.

    The entire culture that dictates farmers to the left, consumers to the right (animals stuck in the middle with you), strikes me as wrong. I can’t claim to be particularly concerned with the plight of animals, but I am concerned with what’s best for humans. Those who treat animals with cruelty or disregard are not far removed from treating people similarly, and a culture that looks on approvingly is violent, decadent, and on the decline.

    I’ll conclude by observing that many people who claim to be Christians (and, worse, many that are Christians) give no thought to environmental conservation and right treatment of animals. Living closer to the land would mitigate both of these unfortunate tendencies.


    • devan April 17, 2008 / 9:14 pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Nathan.

      Your point about cruelty to animals being a few steps away from cruelty to other humans definitely hadn’t occured to me, but makes a lot of sense.

      Also, to borrow your phrase, I can’t claim to be particularly concerned with the behaviors of Christians or wannabes, but I am concerned with calling hypocrisy what it is.

      In other words, if part of what you’re suggesting is that it’s un-Christian (or perhaps un-Christ-like?) to fail to consider these things, then I’m behind you 100%.


  2. faustianbargain April 17, 2008 / 10:53 pm

    devan, good luck. i am not sure i have anything useful for you. the last time i was lured to a foie gras ‘discussion’ was in december.


    ruhlman does a pro foie gras/anti vegan/anti vegetarian piece now and then to create controversy and page hits. i have been sucked into this many times. and it never ‘ends’. because if there is a real discussion, one has to arrive at a conclusion. and if one does, one cannot keep raising the same old topic over and over again.

    also, i noticed that there will be periodical references to “Hudson Valley Foie Gras” in the blogsphere. the more popular bloggers will make some kind of reference to it every few months. i suspect this pattern is not accidental.

    in my opinion(and its in one of the 302 comments in the december link pasted above), factory production of foie gras is not ‘natural’. it is not different from factory farming at the numbers that are involved.

    but this has been said. many many times. they will not even pretend to understand. they’ll continue their thick pillock routine and it will remain unresolved until they can bring it up again a few months from now…pitching a ‘farmer’ friend or an ‘artisnal foie gras producer’..usually Hudson Valley Foie Gras…these folks employ PR firms and lobbyists, you know..when you got people in Capitol Hill to plead your case, a couple of bloggers who want their 15 mts will gladly help to boost the number foie gras ducks sold in this country.


    • devan April 18, 2008 / 7:59 am

      Hi, faustianbargain,

      Your perspective on why these posts appear from time to time is pretty saddening, of course.

      I’m not particularly idealistic, but I do like to think of the web as encouraging honest conversation from time to time, particularly on a blog like Ruhlman’s, where you have a highly specific audience interested in the same things, even if from different perspectives.

      What your suggesting—and what is certainly borne out by the comments over there so far—is that, in fact, folks just want to gripe, and to get incoming links to their own blogs. So much for the commenters.

      For Ruhlman’s part, I’m a little less ready to believe that pitching his friends’ goods is high on his agenda, but who can say?

      Thanks for your comment, either way. It’s the kind of honest opinion I love to see.


  3. jess January 6, 2009 / 2:58 am

    I found a really funny blog on that really nailed the fois gras argument and pointed out how stupid and cruel it is. The blog is called something like Fois Gras for the Holidays.
    You got to check it out:


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