A terrific and troubling interview with a truly great chef and Philadelphia restaurateur Georges Perrier who has been the frequent target of animal rights protesters who, want him to stop serving foie gra.
The following is excerpted from the interview wherein GP (Georges Perrier) asks TB (The Evening Bulletin) when will the hunger of the the animal rights protesters be sated.
GP: Here's the problem: Today it is foie gras, but tomorrow it can be something else.
TB: It opens the door to ban more things ... like Whole Foods banning lobsters and crabs because it's "inhumane" - whatever that means.
GP: Where does it end? Everything can be called "cruelty." Where does it end?
A Hunger Artist butts in: Chef, this is exactly the point. It will never end for the most active people in the campaign against the production of foie gras because their goal is the elimination of animal suffering by human activity. So this is going to be a long fight. Once they stop the production and sale of foie gras, they will target some other farmed animal product. Of course they will go after "factory farmed" products first. But soon they will target "cruelty free products" because many of them believe that no matter how well you treat an animal while you are raising it, the very act of killing is cruel and unnecessary, while others believe that all animals should be left to live their lives unimpeded by human interference.
Once all the farmed animal products are eliminated then they will go after wild animal products. By this point veganism will have become part of the primary cultural gestalt and so will be a driving force behind the inspiration and codification of all manner of legislation.
Hunting, fishing and animal farms will be illegal. Books and movies that glorify or romanticize hunting and animal farming will be the targets of boycotts, censorship and in extreme cases where animal suffering is truly horrendous -such Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea- banned outright.
Drug testing on animals who aren't sick? Fahgedaboutit.
Pet cats will be illegal because they maim and kill and anyone who owns one will be prosecuted for promoting unnecessary suffering of wild animals by proxy. Or at the very least, there will be a law that requires all house cats to be declawed and fed a cruelty free vegan diet or a diet supplemented by animal products derived from the corpses of animals that died from natural causes.
Pet dogs too will be doggone and the term dog bone will have a completely different meaning.
Uhm...what did I forget? Mandatory health insurance legislation for pets, fine and minimum sentencing guidelines for pet owners who neglect to take their pets for regular check ups? Human stool test kits for vigilant parents who want to screen their kids for illicit meat consumption?
In the end, it doesn't end chef. Not if you give free reign to your imagination and recognize that the animal rights folks who are giving you such a hard time about duck liver are really trying to reconfigure the food web to conform to they way they think it should be. It'll be interesting to see how it really shakes out.