Justice Talking

Justice Talking is a radio program from NPR which I have come to enjoy immensely.  Each week they present a new hour-long discussion of some contemporary issue of debated justice.

Last week…Diet Police.  New York City has banned trans-fats in restaurants this summer.  Chicago banned foie gras, the fattened liver of a duck or goose, just over a year ago.  The program raises tons of interesting questions.  Let’s take the ducks…

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Foie Gras tastes better if the duck’s liver is especially large and fatty.  Therefore, the duck is force-fed (with a tube going into its esophagus) large quantities of food for a few weeks before slaughter. 

1.  Does this treatment of the animal have ethical significance?  Why or why not?

2.  Assuming it does have ethical significance (please play along, if you think it does not), should the practice be banned by government?  Why or why not?

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One response to “Justice Talking

  1. 1. It has ethical significance in the light of Corpernican mediocrity (i.e. we are no better than ducks). Even as a Christian, knowing that I am indeed better than a duck, I still feel it would be stretching (so to speak) the term “dominion” to justify force-feeding animals for no other reason than to please our palate.

    2. I don’t think banning would be effective in ending the practice, also it is not the responsibility of the government. If the ducks are force-fed in France and cooked in America, where does the government step in? Can I buy it at the market and cook it at home? What if I raise a duck and force-feed it myself? What constitutes “force-feeding”? How do I know the duck doesn’t like it? The questions are endless and the penalties unenforceable (unless their are Foie Gras Marshals patrolling haute cuisine eateries). If the rich want Foie Gras, they will get Foie Gras, banned or not. And if it really bothers PETA that much, they should go bother the French government whose country produces nearly 80% of the world’s Foie Gras.

    I will do my part when I wander into a fine restaurant and not ask for fat duck liver, but rather for some chicken killed in a more conventional manner. At least until PETA eventually gets that off the menu as well.

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