Animal “Rights” Whackos Target Foie Gras

God Bless the animal rights loonies.  They can, temporarily at least, relieve our minds of having to deal with truly important issues.

The nation’s debt is well in excess of $14 trillion; and despite much rhetoric to the contrary by both major parties in Washington, our annual deficits continue at unsustainable levels.  Our military is involved in an eight-year old conflict in Iraq, and another that is a decade long, in Afghanistan; both matters that drain significant national economic and personal resources.  Our federal Energy Department, created nearly two generations ago with the express purpose of reducing our country’s reliance on foreign energy sources, has failed miserably at its primary task, even as it continues to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year.  And, this administration, like its predecessor, continues to infringe Americans’ privacy and other civil liberties, as if the Bill of Rights were a quaint but no longer relevant afterthought to the powers exercised by the federal government.

This short list is but the tip of the iceberg of major problems currently confronting the United States.

Yet, with all these issues that ought to concern citizens, what issue occupies the attention of a group of so-called animal “rights” activists in Atlanta?  They are apparently worried sick that a restaurant in our fair city might continue to offer the delicacy known as foie gras, to customers who enjoy the seared goose liver. I kid you not; foie gras to these fringe activists obviously is far more crucial to the future of our country than the national debt, taxes, wars or civil liberties (at least those that apply to humans).

The “Animal Protection and Rescue League” (APRL), based in San Diego, California, has decided Atlanta is the new Ground Zero for their vitally important effort to protect a few geese from having their livers cooked for those humans savoring the dish.  The group had a few “animal rights” activists waving anti-foie gras signs near the Buckhead restaurant, “Bistro Niko,” last weekend.

Animal rights groups’ record of success in forcing restaurants to stop serving foie gras, or convincing governments to do so by law, is marginal at best.  For example, only one state – California (of course) – has passed a law prohibiting production of foie gras (thereby indirectly preventing restaurants from serving it).  Only one city – Chicago – has banned foie gras from restaurants in its jurisdiction; although the Windy City later repealed the ban.  The anti-foie gras crowd also is lobbying the Hawaiian legislature, even though the Aloha State last year defeated such a ban.

Notwithstanding such a – thankfully — dismal record of legislative success, these animal right-ists spend their time (and indirectly the time of restaurant managers, owners and patrons forced to deal with them) on an issue that in the scheme of things does not even rise to the level of remotely important to this country.

There always will be individuals and organizations focused on or excited by minor or fringe issues; and that’s fine.  It’s a free country (at least in that respect).  And, there always will be people with money who are inclined to fund such efforts; and here too, they should be free to do so.  But intelligent American citizens and lawful businesses such as restaurants should be free to ignore such nonsensical efforts; and they should.  Even more importantly, state and local government legislators hopefully will continue to understand that prohibiting restaurants from offering a product desired by its patrons is un-American and should not become a subject for legislative restriction or prohibition.

by Bob Barr – The Barr Code

168 comments Add your comment

Real Athens

April 22nd, 2011
12:35 pm

Oh Bob,

“Our federal Energy Department, created nearly two generations ago with the express purpose of reducing our country’s reliance on foreign energy sources, has failed miserably at its primary task, even as it continues to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year”.

What were doing while you were in Congress? Wasn’t the Energy Department around then?

What were you doing when Reagan’s budget policies were exponentially increasing our debt?

While Bill Clinton was President what were you doing? Prodding Kenneth Starr’s prosecution (to the tune of $76 Million) for getting a b%#job in the oval office? Leading the charge to outlaw abortion even though you paid for one in 1983? Authoring the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996? Leading the “War on Drugs” by vehemently opposing the use of medical Marijuana? Voting for the Iraq resolution in 2002? Voting in the affirmative for the Patriot Act.

What the hell do you know about civil liberties besides that you’ve trampled on them your entire life and now spend your life as walking, talking (writing) dichotic hypocrite?

CazLand

April 22nd, 2011
12:36 pm

Eric,Do u eat meat?

Debbie

April 22nd, 2011
12:42 pm

What a small man Bob Barr must be. Those that condone the unspeakable and horrific tortureof animals, all for the sake of food and clothing are truly disturbed individuals. God help us all. Ghandi said it all as mentioned earlier.

jdsg

April 22nd, 2011
12:42 pm

hey bob – i am going to target lentils. i hate those things. that should be good fodder for your next blog.

Bill

April 22nd, 2011
12:44 pm

debbie – ghandi loved a good lamb cheeseburger

CazLand

April 22nd, 2011
12:45 pm

Eric,you never answered my question. What is the humane way to kill anything?

CazLand

April 22nd, 2011
12:50 pm

Debbie-u may not like this answer,but if there was’nt a market for animal skins there would’nt be an industry. As far as killing for consumption,what do we eat that isn’t killed?

Nacho Daddy

April 22nd, 2011
12:51 pm

Hey Bob, Why don’t you write about “the whackos” that won’t let me buy a beer or a bottle of wine on Sundays ?? …oh right you’re one of those whackos aren’t you ?? see you in church… NOT !

CazLand

April 22nd, 2011
12:52 pm

I really feel sorry for some of u here. Isn’t there a tree somewhere u should be hugging? Bookman must have a real bore of a thread today for u to be here.

Skeeter

April 22nd, 2011
1:19 pm

Cazland, I’ll answer your question to eric even though it’s not relevant because the people are protesting the way the geese are force-fed, not the way they are killed. A humane way to kill would be to break their neck, cut their head off or cut their neck. Even though the last two seem so violent because of all the blood involved, there is very little suffering involved. It’s over before they know it. Also, a bullet to the brain or to the heart. So a good hunter is a humane hunter.

Skeeter

April 22nd, 2011
1:22 pm

Oh yeah, people that eat foi gras are pretentious d’bags. They should try chicken liver, especially fried chicken liver, mm mm.

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Eric

April 22nd, 2011
1:40 pm

Sorry Caz, I was just out grabbing a burger for lunch.

Yes I eat meat. I think Skeeter summed it up quite well. Humane existence (free from suffering) followed by a quick, painless death. That respects the animal and our need as omnivores for meat. Abusing a living animal in the name of “making it tastier” is sick.

As far as current standards go — most livestock’s existence is far from ideal, both for human health and the welfare of the animal. The way conventional cows are raised for human consumption is both a danger to animal and human welfare. We have strayed far from the ideal in the name of profit. Cows are abused dietarily (fed corn — born to eat grass, not seed), which deteriorates their health, requiring the use of antibiotics in all cows’ feed, as they all are sick because of their cheap diet. A diet of corn is cheap and builds tissue quickly, at the expense of the health of the animal. Cows fed corn are in a constant state of heartburn, leading to sores, ulcers and infection, requiring antibiotics.

Concentrated antibiotic-laced, E.Coli-containing wastes from CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) help breed superbugs that are a threat to human health. This waste runs downstream and spills into produce farms, spreading E. Coli. E.Coli is a byproduct of raising conventionally grown cows, not of growing spinach. Every time you hear about a vegetable being infected due to E. Coli, it’s because conventionally farmed animal waste contaminated it. People die every year because of this.

I eat grass-fed beef whenever available, it costs a premium, but that’s the stuff cows evolved to eat. The cows are antibiotic free. Every system in their body is ideally tuned to consume grass. The cows don’t suffer from overcrowding, disease and the other horrors of CAFO living. It’s also healthier for people because the cows are E. Coli-free and generally in good health when slaughtered. The fats in the meat are also healthier for people to consume.

BULLSEYE

April 22nd, 2011
1:43 pm

I tip my hat to Eric. Well said.

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
1:52 pm

Oh, Eric, not wanting to die of E. Coli is a sure sign you’re a weak-kneed sissy liberal. It’s so manly to die while crapping your brains out. Chicks really dig that.

Hambone

April 22nd, 2011
2:00 pm

I think we should debate dry-cured salami on Monday.

Nacho Daddy

April 22nd, 2011
2:05 pm

Jesus, only ate fish and bread, ( & drank wine. but not on Sundays, couldn’t find a place that sold it on Sunday )

Ezra

April 22nd, 2011
2:22 pm

So animals have feelings? They love and cry and are just like humans. Most members of the animal rights groups prefer to live with animals or do they? I think its because a part of their brain is larger than in normal people. They can not help themselves. These members could use therapy but they would want the gov. to pay for it. I wonder how many of these members believe in abortion?

Tommy Beall

April 22nd, 2011
2:25 pm

Bob Barr should have been aborted.. just like the insult he forced his wife to abort.. pathetic hyprocritcal right-winged moron..

Eric

April 22nd, 2011
2:31 pm

Ezra, do you not believe that animals have feelings? Domesticated animals co-evolved with humans because will both fill a need the other has. Some are dietary, others fill emotional needs. Most Americans have had a pet at one time or another in their lives. The “normal” thing is to have a pet. Perhaps the people who do not have the animals are the ones that need the therapy, as studies have shown that pet owners are generally happier people and considerably healthier too.

http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/live-longer-with-a-pet.htm

Thinking Citizen

April 22nd, 2011
2:33 pm

“While animals may not weep like humans, they do, however, emit cries which seem to indicate emotional distress. Baby animals of all kinds will vocalize when separated from their mothers. Baby elephants in particular produce a very sad, keening sound which sounds like weeping. Hunters and some wildlife experts have claimed that the sound of a bear cub cries, when separated from its mother is remarkably similar to the cries of a human baby. In these cases, the cries probably serve as a form of direct communication with the mother.

There are many cases of animals exhibiting grief at the death of their owners. The famous Greyfriars Bobby, a small dog whose owner passed away, kept constant watch over the grave until his own death fourteen years later. A statue and fountain were later erected in honor of the faithful terrier.

Ascribing “human” emotions to animals (anthropomorphism) is often derided but may have a factual basis. A poodle which has lost a canine companion may refuse to eat. Dolphins have been known to carry their dead babies with them for days. An elk may stand watch over the dead body of a calf until predators destroy it and geese mate for life. While it is virtually impossible for a human to know what animals are really thinking or feeling, these behaviors seem to indicate real emotions.

Elephants, which are sensitive and highly intelligent animals with an evolved social structure, have been observed “crying.” Charles Darwin was told by the keepers of Indian elephants at the London zoo that the animals shed tears from sorrow. “

NOELLE

April 22nd, 2011
2:46 pm

Ducks have a gullet that is able to swallow whole fish and a throught that does not have a gag reflex. Ducks also breath through a hole in their tounge, so they can breath while eating. Ducks also can store food for for long flights….. the entire feeding process takes about 5 seconds.
Please get informed before you jump on a band wagon.
see for yourself- video@ http://www.artisanfarmers.org

sandi strasberg

April 22nd, 2011
2:49 pm

Bob – If caring about all living creatures that were made by God to keep balance on this planet is wacko, then put me in the loony bin!

Of course I care about all those other issues we face in this country. But there is still some passion left in me for the animals! You wouldn’t be too happy if your cat or dog was made to suffer the same way, would you?

Eric

April 22nd, 2011
3:18 pm

I am familiar with gavage. If the process were a natural one, then duck and goose livers would naturally be fat enough for commercial foie gras. It is difficult to believe that a migratory bird would ever voluntarily put itself in this obese state. Despite your belief that the 5 seconds of feeding isn’t cruel, subjecting an animal to a constant state of disease (fatty liver disease) is still abuse in itself. It has been done for centuries, so somehow it is an accepted practice. Of course, human slavery was also an accepted practice until it wasn’t.

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
3:24 pm

Noelle, that’s why you see ducks at Stone Mountain insert their feeding tubes when you pull out that loaf of stale bread.

Pamela Cooper

April 22nd, 2011
3:42 pm

Bob, I hope you have written other opinion pieces condemning people for attending movies or dining at restaurants or doing anything else but spending their every waking hour trying to fix problems in US that you deem important.

Bob Barr

April 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm

Look here, whackos! The US has a host of problems, so shame on everyone not working to fix those problems– except me, Bob Barr, because I want to write a blog!

HawksFan

April 22nd, 2011
3:57 pm

“… state and local government legislators hopefully will continue to understand that prohibiting … a product desired by its patrons is un-American and should not become a subject for legislative restriction or prohibition.”

My mind has just been blown by this blog’s wisdom! Laws to outlaw slavery, child prostitution, dog fighting, heroin, burning witches, etc were un- American, because these were products desired by some. You can’t take away people’s freedom!

Kay Carter

April 22nd, 2011
4:26 pm

You Bob are clearly the wacko! Animal cruelty also happens to be a huge problem but I guess you re to dumb to see this country has many problems! Hey, did we ask you to attend? If you do know us or our cause then shut up!

TRobin

April 22nd, 2011
4:48 pm

There is nothing natural about force feeding these ducks and geese. The majority of ducks and geese used for foie gras are not even migrating birds and would never consume that amount of grain in twelve weeks. No animal would eat until it was unable to walk. It is only the human species that thinks this is acceptable. On blogs like this one there are always a few people that join in just to argue rather than have a literate discussion. I sometimes think it is a façade to take away from the actual topic.
A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal- Proverbs 12:10

Aquagirl

April 22nd, 2011
5:08 pm

“No animal would eat until it was unable to walk. It is only the human species that thinks this is acceptable.”

Supporting proof can be found on the “People Of Wal-Mart” website. You may want to tear out your own eyeballs after viewing, though.

KathyB

April 22nd, 2011
6:01 pm

We protest the production of Foie Gras because it is purely a product of the abscence of human morals, ethics and compassion. Like it’s bedfellows, those other “truly important issues”, it is a shining example of apathy for other sentient beings, which is the root cause of every problem you mentioned before.

WOW

April 22nd, 2011
6:14 pm

“Bob and the right wing bloggers here used to make the same arguments about minority rights.”

We did? When?

WOW

April 22nd, 2011
6:15 pm

“Bob thinks worrying about spooge on an intern’s dress is a more worthy cause.”

I’m sure you’re used to that.

WOW

April 22nd, 2011
6:16 pm

“Eric,Do u eat meat?”

BULLSEYE does. He also gulps.

WOW

April 22nd, 2011
6:17 pm

“It’s so manly to die while crapping your brains out. Chicks really dig that.”

Aquasquirrel has some crazy fetishes.

GeorgeM

April 22nd, 2011
7:28 pm

I’m sorry if animal protectionists have interfered with your gluttony, Mr. Barr, but the production of foie gras is obscene and no decent person should dismiss this issue so flippantly. Shame on you; have you really become a callous old lush?

Mike

April 22nd, 2011
7:47 pm

This just shows a total lack of morals and character on the part of Bob Barr. It is also hypocritical coming from a man who wasted so much time by trying to rename half of Washington, D.C. after Ronald Reagan.

Cate

April 22nd, 2011
8:18 pm

As an animal rights “Whacko” I find it much more appropriate for me to spend my time trying to stop the torture of animals than for Arizona’s legislature to be spending their time declaring an official state gun.

All activists are frowned upon by closed minded people. But without activists, we’d still have slavery. We’d still have 10 year olds working 12 hours a day.

I’m vegan, but I don’t care if anyone else is. What I do care about is putting pressure on the industries that treat animals inhumanely. http://www.stopforcefeeding.com – educate yourself before you run off at the mouth.

Fieyr

April 22nd, 2011
8:33 pm

How does Bob know that the animal rights activists aren’t also working on all of the other things? It’s not like the protestors are out there 24/7.

On top of that, he makes it sound like we must just drop every other issue and ONLY work on the issues that BOB cares about. What the hell Bob? How is protesting the torture of animals a bad thing? Seems like one hell of a worthy cause in my book. We don’t let people torture their pets, why should it be different for any other animal?

I say kick some Bistro Niko tail. Get that Foie Gras Banned in Georgia too! Geese will be happy…and Bob won’t. Works for me…

Joyce

April 22nd, 2011
9:08 pm

Bob Barr is the real whacko!!

Andrew

April 22nd, 2011
10:22 pm

This may come as a surprise to many, but there are libertarian animal rights advocates. Like other libertarians, I believe that rights are negative claims against society intended to protect the most important interests of individuals. A negative claim is one that requires no action from anyone else. For example, my right to life does not require anyone to provide me with anything. It only requires that others not end my life. The most basic rights are life and liberty. Positive claims (e.g., free healthcare) enforced by government necessitate the subjugation of one citizen to another and, therefore, are not rights.

The philosophers who formed the early theories of rights (e.g., Locke) seem to have been primarily focused on explaining why people other than just the monarchs and their cohort deserved ethical and legal respect. As a result the philosophers looked for the factor common to most people (rationality) as the criteria that defined whether or not a being had rights. That’s why children’s rights weren’t respected until recently – they’re not fully rational.

Those philosophers’ progress was monumental but incomplete. Rationality is surely the criterion for determining who ought to BEHAVE ethically, and only adult humans meet that criterion as far as we know. However, beings’ interests in living and moving around freely arise from biological needs and desires, and those needs and desires appear to be present in more than just adult humans. They appear to be present in all sentient beings, even those who aren’t rational, such as most or all non-human animals, human children, and mentally handicapped humans. Therefore, sentience should be the criterion for determining who should be TREATED ethically.

I don’t want the government to provide me or anyone else with anything other than protection of my (and others’) rights and enforcement of contracts. I believe the views that I have expressed here are consistent with libertarian beliefs; I just extend them to one more group of beings. Please don’t dismiss animal rights as idiotic, emotional nonsense. Many activists dedicate a significant amount of time to studying ethical and political philosophy and arguing for human rights, as well.

Peter

April 22nd, 2011
11:16 pm

How is the veal tonight Bob ?

William Cole

April 22nd, 2011
11:29 pm

bob barr you disgust me you self centered unintelligent sub species of a human being. all the problems you mention you and you idiot republicans got us into in the first place. then you want to take it out on geese. you know nothing of how the foie gras industry is complete and disgusting torture of one of gods creatures. maybe someone should stuff your disgusting belly so full till your liver gets diseased then say “how does it feel bob barr”. you better hope i never see you in public because i will spit on your selfish face if i do. have a nice day mr. barr.

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MarkV

April 23rd, 2011
10:05 am

People may have different ideas regarding the abuse involved in force-feeding geese, and some may consider the protests against it silly, but it is certainly not sillier than Barr’s complaining about them on the basis that there are more important issues. If that were a reasonable argument, then Bob, why didn’t you condemn sports, movies and any other recreational activity?

Tricky

April 23rd, 2011
11:53 am

You chastise the animal rights “Whackos”, for protesting Foie Gras, by protesting their protesting, when in your own words, “They can, temporarily at least, relieve our minds of having to deal with truly important issues.” And instead of dealing with truly important issues, you waste newspaper space with this. Now who is the Whacko? Would you like it if someone force fed you…… Oh forget it, just did a Google search, it appears someone has, my apologies.

William

April 23rd, 2011
12:28 pm

Animal rights “wackos” are the ones out there fighting for animal protection, workers’ rights, health care reform, civil rights, human rights, etc. Without these people sticking up for the underdog, you wouldn’t even have the freedom to write your column.

And for the record, foie gras is extremely cruel. I don’t think I would like anyone shoving a funnel down my throat and force feeding me large amounts of grain until my internal organs bursts. Just because ducks and geese DNA is a little different than ours, doesn’t mean we have the right to torture them.

SevenSix

April 23rd, 2011
2:43 pm

Bob, you were a failure and an embarrassment in politics, and now you are a failure and an embarrassment in morals.

Dr. Josh Mason, DVM

April 23rd, 2011
6:00 pm

@NS Your account to a foie gras farm in Normandy may be accurate, however, the conditions you mention are not at all the norm in the industry of foie gras factory farming. I am a veterinarian and I have witnessed far different conditions when making house/farm calls. 80% of all ducks raised for foie gras are kept in small individual cages their entire life in which they cannot turn around, stand up, or stretch their wings. Farm conditions are almost identical to intensive poultry farms – densely packed and an exorbitant number animals and squalid feces filled with an overwhelming stench of ammonia. Ducks and goose beaks which are richly innervated and well supplied with sensory receptors are brutally chopped off by farm workers early on. The geese or ducks are kept in near darkness, presumably to keep the disoriented. They have access to only drip water – ducks and geese need water to preen their feathers and they need to immerse their heads often to clean out their eyes. Without the ability to preen, their bodies quickly become encrusted with feces. They also develop opthalmia of the eyes, a low-grade infection that eventually leads to blindness. The feed is a mixture of anti-biotic supplemented maize, fat, and salt. The feeding is mechanized and pneumatic, with machines doing this with a metal tube between 16 and 28 days – 3 times a day until the 12 day, then every 3 hours even though the night for the remaining duration of the feeding cycle. Pneumatic force-feeding systems can cram up to a pound of feed down a duck’s through in 3 seconds. The grossly diseased liver swells up to 12 times its normal size. Force-feeding causes a fatty degeneration in the cells of the liver. They have difficulty standing and can barely walk. It would be like force-feeding 30 pounds of spaghetti a day to a human teenager. Needless to say, many times the stomachs burst and the birds die, or their throats are perforated by the pipe. Foie gras is produced at a terrible cost the the birds themselves. Foie gras, touted as a gourmet delicacy to entice the palate, is really only the diseased tissue of a tortured sick animal subject to a continuous, perverse and concerted effort to physically force these poor creatures to do something they weren’t designed to do. Supporting this or any other factory farm industry is a morally and ethically offense to nature and ourselves.