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September 01, 2008

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braingirl

Why must you torture me like this?!

EJ

Why must you torture birds to eat?!

Tori

Braingirl: better to lure you with, my dear. And *you* should talk! I got the Reynaud _Terrine_ book today, btw. Drooled much over coffee this morning. I've some questions for you about it, so get set.

EJ: My survival requires the killing of living things. In how I choose to live my life this means plants and animals, plus in the transport, growth and maintenance of these living things, fossil fuels etc. that harm the planet. I find this philosophically and theologically a difficult thing, one that has grabbed much of my attention, interest, thought on a daily basis. There isn't much I feel comfortable with in regards this: I'm not sure I'm leaving the world around me better for all I've taken from it. I do try, by walking or using public transit, by buying locally from responsible growers who are concerned about the health of the earth, their animals, and the earth around them, much the same way I am, (by choosing a home that was located in such a way as to allow me to do these things), and by how I vote or how I otherwise cast my support behind causes. The fact that I eat more than a person needs for sheer survival is also painful, though here again, though a flawed self, I do so far less than statistically I'm told other's do. I'm on the low side of my BMI, and for all I cook and bake, I try hard not to waste in terms of fuel or of food. That the road to hell is paved with such good intention is certainly an argument that can be made--I certainly make it. I'm sorry I haven't come up with better, but this is as far as I've got.

If you are against meat production of any kind because you see animals as having greater value than plants, I can see that this offends you. If however, you mean that foie gras is a point of greater harm than any of the things I've listed above, I strongly disagree with what informs your perspective. I've been to goose farms that produce foie gras, close close up to the geese, on both sides of the Atlantic, and I'm more than satisfied that their lives are less likely to subject them to what you call torture than the vast majority of animals raised for food, certainly to a point of no comparison to animals raised in feedlots etc.. I've seen them fed, a matter of a flash in terms of time. They certainly seem less burdened in their lot in life than, say, the happiest of dairy cows. Maltreatment shows up immediately in the liver: these are animals that have to be treated well in order to have the investment made in them to pay off.

I have never eaten a fastfood hamburger, or a hamburger of any kind for that matter. (And though I don't know how you would have responded had I posted that I had just eaten one, I've a feeling it wouldn't have triggered the "torture" response the same way.) I don't believe in feedlot food of any kind, and I go to great lengths to avoid it. This applies to the restaurants that I eat--as best I can help it--and to all meat, eggs and most of the dairy that enters my house.

braingirl

EJ, do your homework. No torture involved.

EJ

Ah, you jump to conclusions. True, I haven't eaten meat in 30 years. But I do raise pigs, sheep, ducks and chickens here on my farm. I know they live happy lives and die quickly. I am happy to cook them and feed them to both my partner and my dog.

My problem is with goose liver in particular. Read here http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/foiegras-awake.html and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goose_liver for more information. Force feeding is not humane.

Tori

It's hardly jumping to conclusions to say that *if* vegetarianism is what you're a proponent of, I admit it unlikely that you will find my answer satisfying.

But you might give me credit for attempting to nevertheless answer thoughtfully, if perforce, only partially. I do mean to say that eating this food is, after talking to producers, and visits to farm, and doing research (of a quality somewhat above what you brought here), is within range of what I find acceptable, yet I state this in deep knowledge of an existential burden that's difficult to sort out. I'm about as comfortable and as uncomfortable eating foie gras as with having dairy cows, even the best treated ones, forced into production so I can buy cheese. I don't by that think that saying this serves to dismiss concerns about foie gras production, but rather to boldly state that it's *all* a big deal. And that even doing my best, it's still not easy. [Incidentally, Braingirl who sweetly comes to my defense, is a heavyweight in terms of knowledge of meat production in the U.S.. But, even I, who am not, know how to do research belied in the gentle life-loving tone of my writing on these pages.]

I find out in your answer that you're not interested in hearing my thinking, but instead quote Leviticus to me, which if anything prove the very conclusion you indict me of rushing to, that you come to accuse with heavy ideology, more so than with intellectual curiosity or at least hard fact. If Leviticus is a comfortable standard for you by which to judge me, I doubt much in this blog will serve as more than an annoyance to you.

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