Robbing Us of Our Priceless Heritage of Foie Gras

When conservative writers get lazy or bored, they often resort to what might be called California political porn: seizing on some random development in the Golden State they consider illustrative of the general meme that the state is a frightening dystopia where socialists, hippies and Latinos have combined to ruin everything. It’s sort of the way that lazy or bored liberals might write about Mississippi.

In any event, the habit seems to extend to the UK, where The Telegraph’s Nick Allen has a column deploring an upcoming ban on the sale of foie gras, based on the cruel and unusual force-feeding inflicted on ducks to create the engorged-duck-liver delicacy:

With a deadline of July 1 looming prices have doubled, restaurant menus are replete with every possible version of the dish, and gastronomes are engaging in one last cholesterol-inducing binge.

California’s decision to ban foie gras, which is made from the liver of a specially fattened duck or goose, was taken in 2004 and signed into law by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but an eight-year period of grace was allowed.

Since then a debate has raged between gourmands and some chefs on one side, with animal welfare activists on the other. There have been protests, warnings of future black market bootlegging, and even death threats against non-compliant chefs….

The Animal Protection and Rescue League, which pushed for the prohibition, says that “after weeks of enduring this force feeding torture many ducks have difficulty standing, walking and breathing.”

The ban was originally drawn up by John Burton who was State Senate president in 2004 and is now the chairman of the California Democratic Party.

To read Allen, the entire state is convulsed with this “debate” between crazed leftists and hungry gourmands. I’ve somehow missed it entirely, but then I suppose I don’t frequent the finer dining establishments. I don’t know if Allen has somehow missed the U.S. conservative talking points that eternally suggest elitists, particularly in California, are invariably on the political and cultural Left. But in any event, I’d love to see the local wingnuts back on the Left Coast marching in the streets for the inalienable right to consume foie gras. After all, first they came for the gourmands…and then they made us eat broccoli!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.