Tonight at the Cultural Center, the animal rights group “Mercy For Animals” will be awarding Alderman Joe Moor with their “Compassionate Leadership Award.”
Moore, as you probably already know, is the guy who took away our foie gras back in 2006. Despite the fact that the ban on the delicious, delicious foodstuff was lifted back in May, his attempt has earned him the admiration of animal rights groups. For our part, we are an unremittant fan of foie gras (we are also, to add fuel to the angry responses, a happy consumer of veal and live-boiled lobsters), but even setting aside our personal dietary preferences, we’re a little unsettled by this award.
Like many people, we thought that the citywide ban on fattened goose liver was a game of animal-cruelty three-card monty: Watch over here as our right hand bans foie gras! And while your attention is taken by this ooh-shiny piece of legislation, our left hand will continue exploiting and harming animals in other ways!
This kind of legislative misdirection — especially considering that it didn’t affect global foie gras production in the slightest, thus saving precisely zero geese — isn’t something we think animals rights groups should be rewarding. Let’s ignore that the cruelty level of foie gras has been disputed (and that there is such a thing as natural, non-gavage foie gras), it’s our humble opinion that attention should be paid to acts that actually accomplish something in terms of creating a better world, not just acts that paint a glossy veneer of Doing Something! over the face of an impotent idea.
We’d much rather see rewards given to the alderman who introduces tax incentives for restaurants to source their meats locally, or for subsidies given to the reintroduction of heritage breeds to the big-aisle grocery stores, or for abatements extended to old-school family-run butcher shops. Moving the city of Chicago off factory-farmed meat and onto humanely-raised good stuff would save a hell of a lot more animal lives (and taste significantly more delicious) than simply creating a black market for a product that isn’t produced locally to begin with. By rewarding Moore’s fruitless endeavor, which essentially did nothing more than create a rollicking black market and make the rest of the country think of Chicago as a hotbed of excessive governmental paternalism, we’re distracting ourselves from far more fundamental concerns of basic decency towards animals.
If you’d like to indulge in some completely legal, not-nearly-as-cruel-as-a-Jewel-Osco-pork-chop foie gras, you can use our Find-a-Food Search to uncover a restaurant near you that has it on the menu.
[Photo via cyclone bill’s Flickr]