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Anthony Bourdain has been a staunch defender of foie gras ever since Chicago banned the fatty liver (and then rescinded the ban on the fatty liver). In the past, Bourdain has focused on shooting down the ethical/humane arguments promoted by animal activists. Or arguing for an eater’s right to choose.
On Friday night at the Warner Theatre, however, Bourdain offered a new wrinkle on his defense — or at least new to me.
“I think that it’s an artificial issue,” he told the crowd. “I think that PETA…has chosen an easy target. It’s a luxury item that most people haven’t had. It’s expensive. It’s suspiciously French. It’s hard to pronounce. It just sounds bad, you know? You’re feeding a poor goose or duck more than it would ordinarily eat. It looks bad. They did those grainy films… It’s not like that. That’s not the way foie gras that he buys [Eric Ripert] or I ever bought or any responsible chef at any quality restaurant would buy: a distressed, unhappy animal is bad food…inarguably that kind of suffering and stress leads directly to the quality of food that we don’t want.”
“Also, every duck for foie gras that I know at Hudson Valley, for instance — and I’ve been there, I’ve walked freely everywhere, all around. When the ducks come at you when a human enters the barn, if all the ducks in the place move towards you, that is an indication that their experience with humans, it’s not awful.”
“I just want to say that every factory farm chicken that’s ever gone to the Colonel is treated so incalculably worse. Every factory farm steer for burgers, every animal in service for America’s voracious need for cheap meat at any cost is treated far worse than these animals we’re talking about. So it offends me that they’re being picked on. Pick on the big guys. Pick on the Colonel…Monsanto. Go after those fucking guys.”
Hate to break it to you, Tony, but PETA has gone after KFC.
Photo by Neeta Lind via Flickr Creative Commons, Attribution License