Thursday, August 24, 2006

Paul McCartney's recipe for being a food dictator

Over in the US, the millionaire popstar Sir Paul McCartney has been hitting the headlines. Not for taking the US government to task over its war in Iraq, but, for something far, far more important - the banning of goose and duck liver, more commonly known as foie gras.

McCartney's current crusade against foie gras has all the right ingredients, namely, the high moral ground and animals. Like most dictatorial campaigns these days, his stance over foie gras has certainly got a hefty sprinkling of emotions and feelings - which, to McCartney, seems to be much more important than that other little matter of hard cold facts. As far as M'lud McCartney is concerned, there is 'clearly nothing humane' about force feeding geese or ducks, the practice of this ancient art is 'inhumane' - end of story.

However, McCartney's unappetising war on foie gras, is in fact, just regurgitation of ill-founded prejudice against modern food production. Most of the facts that McCartney points out bear little relation to hard evidence. If a British or American politician had launched a war against foie gras, there would have been protests about 'cultural imperialism'. When one of the former Beatles does it, most people just swallow it hook, line and sinker.

So what is the truth about the production of foie gras? To start with, according to Ariane Daguin, an expert in foie gras, says that geese and ducks have a natural tendency of overeating before the winter sets in, so they can survive long periods of migration. The birds are in fact forced fed, but, this only lasts for about two weeks, and it's a gradual process that causes no stress to the animal according to French scientists.

McCartney also accused foie gras producers of 'mechanically inducing disease' in the birds, but, this is not true either. According to the French Interprofessional Committee for Fattened Waterfowl who commissioned a study entitled 'Everything You Need To Know About Foie Gras', states that foie gras 'does not come from an animal whose liver is sick. Rather, the liver must come from a healthy animal that has lived outdoors, and, at the adult stage, has been given a carefully monitored, abundant and progressive diet". So, where is the evidence that suggests ducks and geese are mechanically induced with diseases?

Of course, there is no hard evidence behind any of his accusations, but, M'lud McCartney doesn't need any evidence does he? Usually, for me, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but, for McCartney and his silly draconian campaigns, that sort of thing is strictly for the birds.

Read on:

Super Chef vs. Governator: Todd English Fights For Foie Gras Rights. By Juliette Rossant (Superchefblog)


At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Lucyp said...

Foie gras is produced by taking a young duck or goose and forcefeeding it enormous amounts of food several times a day. A metal pipe is thrust down their throats so that a mixture of corn can be forced directly into their gullets. After a few weeks, the ducks become grossly overweight and their livers expand up to 10 times their normal size.
Hate to see what you do consider cruel.
McCartney is an overated entertainer but Kudos to him for his animal campaigns.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a more recent Superchefblog article with Paul McCartney and foie gras is Foie Gras War: Rocco Saves Seals


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