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Commentary Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2007 - 00:24:38

Foie gras is a disease not a delicacy
By Mickey Z.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Feb 8, 2007, 00:10

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There�s a brief item in the February 12 issue of New York magazine -- nauseatingly entitled �Ommm vs. Yummm� -- in which Geoffrey Gray tells of a meeting at Jivamukti Yoga in Manhattan. The subject of this meeting is foie gras (pronounced fwah grah) or more specifically: how this alleged epicurean indulgence is made. �Aint� no yogis eating foie gras,� declares Hip-hop mogul and longtime vegan, Russell Simmons. �It�s barbaric, it�s crazy.�

Foie gras (French for �fatty liver�) is a $20 million a year business in New York State and a single producer like Hudson Valley Foie Gras, for example, slaughters 6,000 ducks a week. Geoffrey Gray betrays his bias by characterizing foie gras as �rich, velvety, and controversial bird livers.� Simmons, as you might imagine, sees things a just a little differently. �I sit here and watch people eat steak and eat foie gras and do stupid shit all day long,� he says. �I�m really not an angry vegan, but human beings are fucking rude.�

The local anti-foie gras protests, for now, will focus on Fairway supermarkets, but Fairway partner Steven Jenkins told New York that the �foie gras weirdos� are �doing nothing more than preying on the guilt-ridden liberals of the Upper West Side.�

Besides his laughably flawed appraisal of the radical potential of Upper West Side liberals, Jenkins is also dead wrong with his �doing nothing more� dismissal. Dedicated activists -- from coast to coast -- are shining a light on an utterly repellent practice. Here�s how the Farm Sanctuary describes the foie gras process: �At just a few months old, ducks are confined inside dark sheds and force-fed enormous amounts of food several times a day. A farm worker grabs each duck and, one by one, thrusts a metal pipe down their throats so that a mixture of corn can be forced directly into their gullets. In just a matter of weeks, the ducks become grossly overweight and their livers expand up to 10 times their normal size.� (For more, don�t miss this video:

"About 10 percent of the ducks don't make it to slaughter," says vegetarian activist, Pamela Rice, "They die when their stomachs burst."

To a veterinarian, the ensuing human-induced disorder is called "hepatic lipidosis." To a gourmet chef, these fattened, diseased livers are called "foie gras."

Foie gras is a disease, not a delicacy.

(Farm Sanctuary anti-foie gras site:

Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at

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