Hugs for Puppies

Hugs for Puppies is the actual name of an animal rights group in Phiadelphia that has been making headlines by picketing restaurants that serve foie gras in a bid to make Philly foie-gras free, like Chicago:

[Chef David] Ansill cq, who owns the boutique restaurants Ansill and Pif, called the protests "self-defeating. People who didn't know what foie gras is, now they are interested in trying it. We sell a little more when they are out here. I thought about hiring them."...

He added that at Ansill, "it is one of our signature dishes, shirred eggs with truffles and cream with a little piece of foie gras on top. But I have now made the foie gras optional on that dish. . . . I'm not forcing anybody to eat it. If you want to eat it, eat it. If you don't, don't."

Hug for Puppies are well-known troublemakers:

In 2004, an FBI task force raided [a house shared by many Hugs for Puppies members], searching for materials related to a campaign to shut down an animal-testing company. Cooney and other members targeted Huntingdon Life Sciences, protesting at its New Jersey headquarters and at the homes of employees and business associates. Cooney also was accused in 2004 of violating a court order restricting protests against a corporate executive.

More foie gras follies here, here, and here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • TallDave||

    Hugs For Puppies? What about the kittens?

    Won't someone please think of the kittens???

  • ||

    Drew Carey was right. Animal rights activists aren't interested in saving all of the animals. Just the cute ones.

    I'll give 'em some cred when they start "Hugs for Gators."

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    As I write this comment, this is another phantom post written by nobody, like "Pictures of Reason Make Me Feel So Wonderful."

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Never mind. Problem solved. :-)

  • ||

    Did I miss something? What does foie-gras have to do with puppies?

    I will gladly hug a puppy, anyway. Anytime, anyplace!

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Does this organization think foie gras is made of puppy liver?

  • TallDave||

    Question: if a puppy ate foie gras, would it still deserve a hug?

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Now that I know that that group exists, I'm hungry for a puppy steak.

  • ||

    Did I miss the part where the government was somehow involved here? "Libertarian" does not necessarily mean anti-animal welfare, Katherine... I would expect you'd be applauding the picketers for trying a market-based solution to the issue instead of passing legislation.

    Regardless of your position on the latter, foie gras *is* often made using unpleasant and distasteful methods, and I've got no problem with anyone trying to convince people not to eat it.

  • ||

    Hugs for Puppies - wasn't that Tupac's tummy tattoo?

  • ||

    I always hug my jack russell puppy, right after it kills a rabbit or mouse (swallows the cute little mice, with their little twitching noses. whole).

    I will hug my german shorthaired pointer, everytime it finds me a pheasant or grouse to kill. I love my puppies.

  • ||

    I agree that people should be able to eat (or smoke or view or whatever) what they want. However, foie gras involves torturing ducks by ramming food down their throats until their stomachs explode. Does this proposition not violate even the most basic sense of decency? Our rights end when they infringe upon the rights of others (and by "others" I mean other living things with their own interests, including ducks). The simple truth is that if most people saw foie gras being made, they would join the protesters.

    I consider myself a Libertarian (who is also a vegetarian), but I don't support a market for foie gras any more than I support a market for slaves.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Geoff,
    You're missing the important points of the story. The name "Hugs for Puppies" indicates an alarming degree of sentimentality--and obvious "lookism" with regard to the species they fight for. And are the rest of us presumably *against* letting people hug puppies?

  • ||

    "in a bid to make Philly foie-gras free, like Chicago"

    I suspect that Katherine's concern lies not in the "market-based" part of it so much as the "Chicago" part of this. Chicago didn't let the market decide to make it unprofitable to serve foie gras; Chicago legislated it so. And THAT'S why it's a "libertarian issue".

    Just sayin'..

    CB

  • ||

    However, foie gras involves torturing ducks by ramming food down their throats until their stomachs explode.

    I don't think I believe you. Evidence?

  • Dave W.||

    In 2004, an FBI task force raided [a house shared by many Hugs for Puppies members], searching for materials related to a campaign to shut down an animal-testing company. Cooney and other members targeted Huntingdon Life Sciences, protesting at its New Jersey headquarters and at the homes of employees and business associates.

    Raiding homes good. Protesting at homes bad.

    "Well, we didn't actually find any plans to do a crime here, so let's just disseminate what we did find so that p.r. flaks at Reason flaks can make these troublemakers sound real scary to the Hit'n'Runners."

    It is possible to be a libertarian and still against animal cruelty, btw. It is also possible to be unduly cruel to animals in the production of food. Foie gras and puppy dogs may be a rhetorically stupid angle, but this is not generally a good arena for big yuks from corporatarians either.

  • ||

    Did you have to post this right before lunch? Dang now I'm really hungry. Office lunch today at Mexican joint. Not that there's any foie-gras for a hundred miles.

  • ||

    Freemarket -
    I've never met another libertarian vegetarian. Bravo

    I was not aware that fois gras was such a greusome process. I too would like a link or something

  • ||

    However, foie gras involves torturing ducks by ramming food down their throats until their stomachs explode.

    This would be false, as a duck with an exploded stomach is dead and cannot grow a yummy fatty liver.

    People who didn't know what foie gras is, now they are interested in trying it. We sell a little more when they are out here.

    The nannies will never understand human nature, and are thus doomed to lives of frustrated, cramped unhappiness. As it should be.

  • ||

    I understand that force-feeding actually causes no pain to the ducks/geese, and definitely doesn't make their stomachs explode. (I'd think their livers would be useless as food if that did happen!) Is this incorrect?

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Freemarket (and all other foie gras opponents here),
    In a libertarian community of omnivores, laws to make the eating of animals "cruelty-free" will tend to drive up the price of animal protein for those who most desperately need it for their manual labor. Excessive kindness to animals is cruelty to some disadvantaged humans.

  • ||

    oh, and may I go on record that (while I no longer eat it) Duck Pate is so incredibly delicious and fatty, especially on a little piece of baguette with maybe some cornichons, and a little wine.
    Mmmmmmmm

  • Grotius||

    Give me foie gras or give me death!

    When you are feeding the critter you are taking advantage of its natural gorging aspect. Apparently they have no gag reflex because they've evolved to literally gorge their food.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    To complete my thought from my last comment, other kinds of meat are made with about as much "cruelty" as foie gras, aren't they? Or is foie gras being singled out because of its reputation as a delicacy for the super-rich, who self-evidently deserve our scorn?

  • ||

    mediageek | June 6, 2007, 12:33pm | #
    Drew Carey was right. Animal rights activists aren't interested in saving all of the animals. Just the cute ones.


    Drew Carey?

    Denis Leary did a bit on cute animals on "No Cure for Cancer."

  • ||

    Freemarket (and all other foie gras opponents here),
    In a libertarian community of omnivores, laws to make the eating of animals "cruelty-free" will tend to drive up the price of animal protein for those who most desperately need it for their manual labor. Excessive kindness to animals is cruelty to some disadvantaged humans.


    I'm sorry, this argument doesn't make any sense. The cost of manual labor would go up, and in this way society would share the cost of the cruelty-free animal production. That being said, in a libertarian community, there would be no such laws.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Drew Carey?

    Denis Leary did a bit on cute animals on "No Cure for Cancer."

    The movement has been fertile ground for David Cross, Paul Reiser, and Nick DiPaolo, too. (The last of those is, of course, another priest of the Church of the Fonz besides Nick Gillespie.)

  • Grotius||

    Brian Sorgatz,

    Some amount of pain is involved in the process of getting any slab of meat to the table. That has always been the case. Some people find that morally reprehensible, but I don't.

  • ||

    Apparently they have no gag reflex because they've evolved to literally gorge their food.

    You're wrong Grotius. They were intelligently designed to gorge their food, so that man could enjoy the taste of their fattened livers.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    I'm sorry, this argument doesn't make any sense. The cost of manual labor would go up, and in this way society would share the cost of the cruelty-free animal production. That being said, in a libertarian community, there would be no such laws.

    Since I don't believe that minimum-wage laws magically improve things for the working poor, I don't think your policy proposal would have the consequences you intend from it.

  • ||

    "In 2006 Philadelphia City Counilman Jack Kelly introduced a bill to ban the sale of foie gras in Philadelphia! This bill, similar to the one that was overwhelmingly passed in Chicago last year, will be voted on some time during 2007."

    -Taken from the "Hugs for Puppies" website.

    Market-based solution via protest my ass.

  • ||

    Brian...
    Which policy proposal exactly was mine?

  • ||

    "…laws to make the eating of animals "cruelty-free" will tend to drive up the price of animal protein for those who most desperately need it for their manual labor."

    So no manual labor is done in India where most people are Hindu and therefore abstain from eating meat? Meat is the only source of protein? Fascinating!

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Reinmoose,
    If I follow your reasoning correctly, the spike in labor costs brought on by the stricter laws against animal cruelty that you favor would make everybody share the cost equally. I see the same problem in this logic as in the argument for the minimum wage.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    jailbait,
    Do some research before commenting. Indians are not all vegetarians, although devout Hindus abstain from eating beef specifically.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Grotius,
    I'm on your side. Please see this comment.

  • wiki||

    kind of like that thing they say about watching sausage being made

    http://drvino.com/2006/08/03/goose-gitmo/

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Oops! Wrong link. I meant to link to this comment.

  • wiki||

  • ||

    Brian,
    If you read back a bit, you were the first one to mention creating laws against animal cruelty in meat production. I merely was commenting that YOUR conclusion on what would happen was basic. If anyone is behaving like an ignorant liberal, it is you by suggesting that a policy only has a simplified effect on one party.
    ...drive up the price of animal protein for those who most desperately need it for their manual labor uses the same reasoning process where advocates of the minimum wage think that eliminating it would mean that all poor people everywhere would starve and nobody would be able to afford to live. Both conclusions assume that all other prices remain constant, which is bullshit.

    Oh, and I don't think I ever used the word "equally," not that that matters.

  • ||

    Brian:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism#Hinduism

  • Urkobold®||

    IS THIS RELATED TO THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, LET THE PUPPIES BREATHE?

  • ||

    "Our rights end when they infringe upon the rights of others (and by "others" I mean other living things with their own interests, including ducks)."

    Where do you live freemarket? How did you manage to not displace some type of living thing; including the icky things like snakes, with their own interest when you moved in? You need to do some soul searching on why you are succumbing to "lookism". Icky animqals have rights too. Most animal rights people have animals mixed up with Disney characters.

    My son has cystic fibrosis. The drugs that may someday extend his life require animal testing. The animal rights nutters mistaking rabbits with cartoon characters and stuffed animals infringe on my son's right to live.

    A vegitarian diet would make my son starve to death. I wish I could get him to eat foie gras; the more the better. He needs 150-200% more fats and protein than normal just to maintain his weight at the 5th percentile.

  • thoreau||

    A few weeks ago I had cream of lentil soup with foie gras at Bistro D'Oc in DC. Damn was that good!

  • stephen the goldberger||

    The fact is that whether or not the shift in relative prices for the product is "cruel" is irrelevent. The fact that protein is more expensive means nothing the only thing that should matter in regard to the laws is whether or not some party's rights are being violated. If you believe that the animal's rights are through Fois Gras production, then a law should be passed to protect said animals. If not then don't pass the law.

    By focusing on the result of a law on the price of a good, you are falling into the trap of trying to use gov't laws to shape a good's price in order to serve one group over another (i.e. poor people)

  • stephen the goldberger||

    sorry that was horribly written

    main point - the purpose of laws is to protect people (and perhaps animals)'s rights, not to create economies which are beneficial to society.

  • highnumber||

    Geoff,

    RTFA, because, yes, you did miss that part of the story.

  • ||

    MayorOmalley- the FDA is doing more damage to your son than animal rights advocates.

  • Brian E||

    I love the picture on this story. Presumably they know what cute retrievers do with ducks and geese, right?

  • GILMORE||

    1) Fuck ducks

    2) Hugs for puppies has an *annual report*

    http://www.hugsforpuppies.org/downloads/2006Report.pdf

    They spent 34% of their 2006 budget on 'miscellaneous'. :) ahh. sweet miscellany.

    These people are a real party. Stupid magnets!

    ================================

    Cops Failed us, Say Le Bec-Fin Foie Gras 4

    From the Philadelphia Inquirer

    By Stu Bykofsky | May 21, 2007

    THEY CAME TO Le Bec-Fin to protest despicable foie gras and received despicable treatment from cops and a drunken flasher, they say.

    The Foie Gras 4 - Dezeray Rubinchik, Mark Fonda, Deanna Calderaio and David Lambdon - picketed the expensive, exclusive French restaurant Friday, May 11, to protest foie gras on the menu.

    Foie gras is French for "fatty liver." To make it, helpless male ducks are force-fed up to four pounds of grain by having tubes jammed down their throats two or three times a day for two weeks. The "feedings" stress the duck's liver, exploding it up to 10 times normal size.

    That's torture, the protesters say.

    After notifying the police's Civil Affairs Unit they would picket Le Bec-Fin, they arrived around 8 p.m. and began shouting and chanting along the curb. They can be loud.

    Civil Affairs had not arrived, but within a few minutes a police car pulled up. Two uniformed cops got out and observed.

    Problems began when a Le Bec-Fin patron - a fiftyish, big-bellied, white male, well-dressed and drunk, according to all accounts - left Le Bec-Fin and got in Rubinchik's face. "At 6-5, the man was quite intimidating as he stood so close to me, yelling in my face," says Rubinchik, 29.

    The two cops didn't twitch.

    By several accounts, the man screamed, jumped and danced around on the sidewalk, yelling, "This is what foie gras did to me."

    He fell, Rubinchik says, got up screaming and then fell twice more, possibly on purpose.

    The two cops didn't twitch.

    Fearing for her safety, Rubinchik asked them to detain the oaf for being drunk or disorderly.

    The two cops twitched.

    "We were then told to 'f--- off' " by Officer Chisholm, says Rubinchik, who took names - Chisholm's partner's name was Wallace - and notes. She's filed a complaint with the 9th District.

    The drunk then stepped inside Le Bec-Fin and "pulled out his penis for nearly 10 seconds and pushed it against the glass door at us while he snickered and jeered," says Rubinchik. He "was shaking it at us," says Calderaio, 29.

    That sickened her more than foie gras.

    When protesters asked the cops to arrest the flasher for indecent exposure, instead of service they got abuse. Chisholm "told us to 'go f--- yourselves,' " Rubinchik says.

    The flasher was allowed to slip away through Le Bec-Fin's back door. I left messages asking chef/owner Georges Perrier to identify the prize package, but he did not respond.

    Neither did the Police Department, when I called to speak to Wallace and Chisholm. However, Internal Affairs confirmed that its officers are investigating Rubinchik's complaint.

    So is the ACLU.

    Three observers confirmed the protesters' account. Philadelphia schoolteacher Diana Eberhardt, 58, saw the fracas unfold after returning a DVD to TLA Video. She says the drunk was "aggressive" and was "harassing" the Foie Gras 4.

    When Eberhardt asked police to step in, they refused. When she asked again, she says, Officer Wallace told her, "If you don't leave, I'll put you in the car."

    She stood her ground - and Wallace put the totally innocent bystander in the police car, observers told me.

    Rubinchik yelled for him to arrest her instead, and Chisholm "pushed me with two hands," she says.

    Eberhardt was released after a half-hour by a just-arriving Civil Affairs sergeant, who apologized for the bad treatment.

    A witness who was watching from across Walnut Street, Emily Scanlon, 24, tells me the flasher was being "drunk and obnoxious" for 20 minutes. When he loosened his pants, she thought he was going to moon the crowd, but "he pulled his genitals out and shook them."

    Another witness, Samantha Tramontina, 23, calls it "insulting" and says "he was trying to start a fight with the protesters."

    If what the observers and protesters say checks out, Chisholm and Wallace need extra training, starting with a lecture about how their badge means they are to protect citizens, not bully them.

    E-mail stubyko@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5977. For recent columns:

    http://go.philly.com/byko."

  • Jennifer||

    Most animal rights people have animals mixed up with Disney characters.

    Worse than that--they have animals mixed up with humans. It's true that a human being would suffer greatly if force-fed the way a foie gras duck is. However (forgive me for stating the obvious here), HUMANS AND DUCKS ARE BIOLOGICALLY QUITE DIFFERENT. But the animal-rights extremists don't take that into consideration; instead, they assume "Since I would suffer pain under these circumstances, the ducks must suffer pain as well, because there's really no difference between primate and waterfowl biology."

  • ||

    Based on the tone of his article, I would say that Stu Bykofsky is the fifth member of Hugs for Puppies targetting le Bec-Fin.

  • GILMORE||

    RC Cola =

    The writer was indeed using adjectives in places he shouldnt have. There is bias in choosing to characterize the restaurant as 'expensive, exclusive', while not bothering to describe the protestors ('shabby? odiforous?')

    At the same time, anything that wasnt a O'Reilly style screed probably comes off as 'partisan!' to you, because you're half nuts just like these people, albeit on the opposite end of the spectrum of monomania.

  • Dave W.||

    Worse than that--they have animals mixed up with humans. It's true that a human being would suffer greatly if force-fed the way a foie gras duck is. However (forgive me for stating the obvious here), HUMANS AND DUCKS ARE BIOLOGICALLY QUITE DIFFERENT. But the animal-rights extremists don't take that into consideration; instead, they assume "Since I would suffer pain under these circumstances, the ducks must suffer pain as well, because there's really no difference between primate and waterfowl biology."

    One day a long time ago I flew off the handle at jennifer and said mean things about her I shouldn't have said. After that I promised not to say mean things about jennifer. She isn't making it easy on me today.

  • ||

    I believe that the most intelligent animals should have some rights, maybe even legal protection, in much the same way children and mentally retarded humans do (while not having all of the rights afforded to adults), but for all the libertarian reasons, I suspect that legal protection (coercive blah blah barrel of a gun blah blah...) would not be very effective or wise until a large majority of the populace agree with me wholeheartedly anyway (making abuse rare).

    I think the best course for animal-huggers is to spend their efforts persuading people, rather than being violent jerks. I think they'll win eventually, too, and that the violent jerks will just slow it down.

    Then again, I think libertarians will win elections some day too...

    (That said, there's good evidence that foie gras is not particularly cruel.)

  • ||

    Presumably they know what cute retrievers do with ducks and geese, right?

    Actually, Brian, retrievers do not actually hurt ducks and geese. The birds are already dead due to someone having shot them.

    A good retriever does not leave a mark of any kind on the bird.

  • Jennifer||

    I promised not to say mean things about jennifer. She isn't making it easy on me today.

    Don't let misguided chivalry dictate your comments, Dave. If I'm wrong to say there are differences between human and duck anatomy, by all means set me straight.

  • Ellie||

    Excessive kindness to animals is cruelty to some disadvantaged humans.

    Woohoo! I'm a heartless bastard at last!

    Anyway, despite their methods, how can you not love a group called "Hugs for Puppies"? Just a little?

  • lunchstealer||

    I typically see PETA et al as being fundamentally identical to Operation Rescue. In both cases they have sympathetic, voiceless groups that they are advocating for. They have some legitimate grounds for their concerns.

    And they're absolute dicks in the way they go about their business, through intimidation and attempts to revile their opponents, and their inflammatory propaganda which skirts the edge of advocating violence and which certainly does drive people into true violence a la ALF and Eric Rudolph.

    Someone upthread explained that the force-feeding of ducks causes their stomachs to explode. This is an innocent misinterpretation of some intentionally misleading language used by animal rights activists. They often refer to the force feedings causing the animals "livers to explode to ten times their normal size", by which they actually mean to expand to ten times their normal size. But the true statement doesn't invoke the required level of cruelty.

    I've never eaten foie gras, and I'm not unsympathetic to the idea that it might be cruel. But I just can't believe their propaganda, because I don't think they respect my right to disagree. I think they'll say anything to get foie gras stopped.

  • lunchstealer||

    Jennifer, just let it go. He can't help it.

  • Another Phil||

    Jennifer,

    You're using the same fallacy that you're accusing the animal rights people of. Ducks' central nervous systems are not qualitatively different from ours. Based on their behavior, it seems pretty obvious that they can't reason (much, at least). But it's not at all obvious that they don't suffer pain.

    I'm another libertarian vegetarian, by the way. However, I outgrew the notion that animals have rights a long time ago. Rights define specific entitlements to political freedom. In order to implement political rights, all parties must abide by the limits they describe (i.e. not violating the rights of others), or be punished when they don't. It's just as absurd to complain about other animals violating humans' rights as it is to try to define the concept of rights to include other animals.

    From what I understand, foie gras production is cruel (so is most egg production, for that matter). However, it is not properly a political issue.

  • Timothy||

    Jennifer: Well, I don't know much about ducks, but I do know that I have a spiral penis. So maybe humans are like ducks after all...

  • ||

    Freemarket, re: your statement: "I consider myself a Libertarian (who is also a vegetarian), but I don't support a market for foie gras any more than I support a market for slaves."

    Do you mean "don't support" as in, "I refuse to buy foie gras, and will try to convince others not to do so also" OR "I will try to get the legislature to shut down this part of the free market, thus making a mockery of my handle?"

    If anyone thinks Hugs For Puppies is gonna stop at just picketing, and not try to ram legislation down our throats (pun intended), you don't have a firm grasp on how statist the animal rights crowd can be.

  • Dave W.||

    by all means set me straight

    Check out "Another Phil's" answer -- he explains it pretty well, especially the idea that egg production may be equally bad.

    I do disagree with Another Phil that it is not properly a political issue. At some margin of cruelty and lack of utility, it should be. You really have to look at the costs and benefits at a detailed level, though, to know when the law needs be involved.

    Sometimes I miss the original Phil because I only said mean things to him when he deserved them.

  • Jennifer||

    You're using the same fallacy that you're accusing the animal rights people of. Ducks' central nervous systems are not qualitatively different from ours. Based on their behavior, it seems pretty obvious that they can't reason (much, at least). But it's not at all obvious that they don't suffer pain.

    When did I say ducks don't suffer pain? I said that force-feeding them doesn't cause them pain as it would in a human. (Also, snakes don't suffer the pain a human would when forced to swallow something bigger than their own head.)

  • ||

    "Brian Sorgatz | June 6, 2007, 1:25pm | #

    jailbait,
    Do some research before commenting. Indians are not all vegetarians, although devout Hindus abstain from eating beef specifically."

    Ummm, do a little research yourself, Brian. Devout Hindus are vegetarians, not just abstaining from beef, because they believe in Karma and reincarnation, and thus believe that people who act badly will be reincarnated as animals. Thus, eating such reincarnated beings is the equivalent of cannibalism and brings bad Karma upon oneself, increasing the likelihood of an unpleasant reincarnation for oneself.

  • GILMORE||

    I once went duck hunting without a dog

    We just blasted a few out of the sky while we drank jim beam and said,"man this is much better than the nintendo version". We did not bother to recover and provide their remains either a proper burial, or dress them and eat them.

    Should i feel bad?

  • Jennifer||

    Should i feel bad?

    Depends. Did you make their stomachs explode?

  • lunchstealer||

    Another Phil - Jennifer is probably referring to a comment by Grotius upthread on physiological oddities wherein ducks are evolved to be able to gorge more or less as foie gras production simulates, thus ducks wouldn't feel as much discomfort as other animals would under the same circumstances.

    I can't speak to the veracity of this comment, but I will say that this apparently is what Jennifer was suggesting. Not the tired chestnut that animals don't feel pain.

  • ||

    lunchstealer -
    I agree with you that orgs like PETA are "absolute dicks" and aren't always honest in their propaganda. (Unfortunately, that may be the most effective way of getting the most unreasonable people, who make up the majority of the population, to take to their cause) They misrepresent entire groups (PETA is frequently associated with vegetarians) and cause absolute hostility toward entire groups of well-meaning people.

    *Jennifer - I recognize that you attached the word "extremists" to "animal-rights," which makes your rant decidedly less hateful than MayorOmalleySuxs

  • lunchstealer||

    Also, if egg production is equally bad, why has foie gras been singled out? My feeling is that it is because it is seen as an 'elite' food, and people like to spoil elites' fun. Is fox hunting really any crueler than other forms of hunting? Probably not, but boy is it fun to stick it to the aristocracy.

    If they had gotten as much publicity against egg production as they have against foie gras production, they'd probably have at least gotten a few vegetarians to cut eggs out of thier diets, and probably a lot of omnivores too. Even getting a small reduction in egg consumption could save far more animals than banning foie gras outright, given the minscule foie gras market in the US.

    Like I say, I don't have a horse in this race, but I find the motivation and methods of the anti-foie gras crowd suspect.

  • ||

    I thought we went over this the other day but, many Hindus practice vegetarianism, they are not vegan, they supplement their diet with milk and egg products. This group, Hugs for Puppies, is a vegan organization that gets its money by appealing to people as an "animal advocacy" group.

  • ||

    Why don't slaughterhouses have webcams on the kill floor? Wouldn't this be more effective than paying for the FDA and all of its regulations regarding meat?

  • Dave W.||

    Also, if egg production is equally bad, why has foie gras been singled out?

    because animal cruelty is a multi-variable calculus for most thinking people, and the degree of utility that humans get from the pain caused to the animals matter. Animal rights activists forget this when they trash drug research labs. Hit'n'Runners forget this when they realize that eggs are more important for helping people meet minimal dietary needs than foie gras is.

  • Dave W.||

    "Hit'n'Runners forget this when they realize that eggs are more important for helping people meet minimal dietary needs than foie gras is."

    should have been:

    --Hit'n'Runners forget this when they conflate cruelty in egg production with cruelty in foie gras production.--

  • daffy||

    I once went dog hunting without a duck

    We just blasted a few while we drank MD20/20 and said,"man this is much better than the nintendo version". We did not bother to recover and provide their remains either a proper burial, or dress them and eat them.

    Should i feel bad?

  • Another Phil||

    When did I say ducks don't suffer pain? I said that force-feeding them doesn't cause them pain as it would in a human. (Also, snakes don't suffer the pain a human would when forced to swallow something bigger than their own head.)

    OK. I was imprecise. I stand by the general thrust of my previous post though. You accuse the animal people of making an unsupported assertion based on an inaccurate conflation of primate and bird physiology. You then counter by making another unsupported assertion: that force-feeding geese doesn't cause them pain.

    Furthermore, the snake example is a non-sequitur. So, different species have different qualities. They also have similar ones. Neither observation contributes to the argument. What specific difference in bird physiology prevents them from feeling pain from repeated force-feeding?

  • ||

    Feh. I'm setting up my own group: Hummers for Darklies.

  • Another Phil||

    lunchstealer,

    I think they're singling out foie gras because they think they have a chance at getting it banned. There is absolutely no chance of getting eggs banned, or requiring free-range egg production.

    Also, some people really do cut out all eggs and dairy (and even honey for some people) from their diet. I did it for about two years in my early twenties. I was usually hungry and wasn't able to eat in many restaurants. I'm still a vegetarian; but I eat eggs and dairy. I haven't eaten meat in 25 years. For me, it wasn't much of a sacrifice. I was one of those kids who wouldn't eat their meat, complaining that it had too much fat on it. I know it's hard for a meat lover to believe, but I don't miss it a bit. At this point in my life, if I did, I would probably start eating it again.

  • ||

    "Hit'n'Runners forget this when they realize that eggs are more important for helping people meet minimal dietary needs than foie gras is."

    should have been:

    --Hit'n'Runners forget this when they conflate cruelty in egg production with cruelty in foie gras production.--



    Dave, did you just diss yourself?

  • ||

    So, different species have different qualities. They also have similar ones. Neither observation contributes to the argument. What specific difference in bird physiology prevents them from feeling pain from repeated force-feeding?

    Actually, I just felt compelled to look this up -- not just because I am a dick (although I can be), but because I actually like animals and would honestly like to know whether these animals are suffering.

    From Force Feeding: An Examination of Available Scientific Evidence (PDF file!)

    ------ begin quote ------
    A. Does Force-Feeding Cause Stress?

    ... Stress levels in birds can be gauged through the measurement of corticosterone blood levels. ... In measuring corticosterone levels of ducks kept in group pens, clinical study showed no significant increase in stress levels except after the first instance of force-feeding and strongly suggested that increased stress measurements resulted from holding the ducks rather than from the actual force-feeding. ...

    B. Assessing Claims that Force-feeding Induces Pain

    The presence of pain in animals may be difficult to measure scientifically because animals can only express themselves through behavior. Neuroscience, however, provides information about the nervous system that can help us to assess the incidence of pain. Experiments involving the visceral nervous system, which computes sensory and motor information from organs including the digestive tract and related secretary glands, have been carried out to assess potential signs of pain in ducks at different stages of the force-feeding period (Servière et al., 2002).

    Neural activation indicating the presence of pain signals were never detected in the sensory visceral brain centers of force-fed ducks (Servière et al., 2003). Although there is a need for further scientific investigations, the data provided do not demonstrate the presence of major pain-induced signs in the nervous system of force-fed mule ducks.

    [Why no pain?] This absence of pain indicators likely results from anatomical specificity of the waterfowl involved in foie gras production. For example, ducks and geese, like many other bird species, are able to swallow large preys. Consequently, the inside diameter of the upper part of the esophagus, which is essentially an expandable elongated pouch in waterfowl, the pseudo-crop sac, is comparatively larger than in mammals and is not circled by cartilaginous rings, explaining the capacity to swallow large objects. Its volume ranges from 600 to 800 cm3 in mule ducks (Guy), while it is reported to be smaller in geese (below 500 cm3) (Leprettre etal., 2002). For this reason, each meal with geese will have a smaller volume than with mule ducks, though the number of daily meals with geese will be higher. In addition, this pouch is located at the level of the neck (25-35cm long) allowing full expansion under the elastic skin of the neck, without any compression of the organs present in the thoracic cavity. It also allows the birds to potentially absorb large amounts of food, which is stored there before being progressively released. The pseudo-crop sac membrane is covered with keratin, which provides a mechanical resistance capacity much higher than the epithelium of most mammals. Another specificity resides in the fact that the opening of the trachea sits in the middle of the tongue. Thanks to the collapsing action of tongue muscles since this anatomical feature allows ducks to eat and absorb water under the water without drowning. This specificity explains why, as long as the procedure is carried under proper conditions, ducks do not have the upper respiratory tract blocked by the force fed meal, a criticism which is often raised by opponents. ...

    C. Are Ducks and Geese Frightened by the Force-Feeder and/or Force-Feeding?

    ... In mule ducks, the response was more ambiguous. Generally, mule ducks are fearful, social and very sensitive to any environmental factors (e.g., change of the experimenter or in the timetable) that will affect behavioral responses. Additional experimentation, however, demonstrated that the flight distance of ducks [i.e., how close you could get to them before they tried to escape] was higher in front of an unknown person than with the caretaker who performed force-feeding daily (Faure etal., 2001). Empirical observations with geese delivered similar results. Furthermore, there was no development of aversion to the operator throughout the force-feeding period. In fact,the flight distance lessened with time. Moreover, familiarization limited the amplitude of the physiological responses to physical stress (Guémené et al., 2002; Servière et al., 2003), as well as behavioral reactions of fear in specific experimental tests (Guémené et al., 2002;2006).
    ---- end quote -----

  • Ashish George||

    Here is an alternative perspective to Stevo's:

    "The problems of the force feeding procedure are: (1) handling by humans which, in the commercial force feeding situation, can cause aversion and discomfort for ducks and geese, (2) the potentially damaging and distressing effects of the tube which is inserted into the oesophagus, (3) the rapid intubation of a large volume of food. . . ducks at the end of the force feeding period can have serious injuries to the oesophagus. . . It seems likely that birds have sufficient damage to oesophagus tissue, caused by the force feeding process to have been painful to the birds.. . There is good evidence that liver structure and function that would be classified as normal is severely altered and compromised in force fed ducks and geese. . . because normal liver function is seriously impaired in birds with the hyperatrophied liver which occurs at the end of force feeding the level of steatosis should be considered pathological. . . It is clear that steatosis and other effects of force feeding are lethal when the procedures are continued."

    That's from a report called "Welfare Aspects of the Production of Foie Gras in Ducks and Geese" by the European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare.

    http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scah/out17_en.pdf

    Here is a photo gallery of the conditions of the birds:

    http://www.goveg.com/photos_ducksgeese.asp

    And here is Robert Nozick on how we should approach animal welfare issues vis-a-vis the pleasure we get from eating animal products:

    http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/nozick01.htm

  • Dave W.||

    Thanks to both Stevo Darkly and Ashish George! I was hoping for this kind of info on this thd. No easy answers, of course, but nice to have some fact-laden perspectives.

  • highnumber||

    Good show, Stevo! Urkobold loves foie gras.

    If you would like to know what the American Veterinary Medical Association thinks about foie gras, read

    here

    Short story:

    ...the observations and practical experience shared by HOD [AVMA House of Delegates] members indicate a minimum of adverse effects on the birds involved. Therefore, delegates decided it is not necessary for the AVMA to take a position on foie gras production at this time.

  • lunchstealer||

    AP, Stevo's response explains that yes, there is some physiological reason to think that the experience is something that ducks are actually well suited for, and that it does not cause significant stress. People consider how WE'D feel in judging force-feeding to be horrible. However, as anyone who's watched a heron eat a fish three times wider than its throat can tell you, the throat anatomy of birds is significantly different to mammalian physiology, and what would cause excruciating pain to a human would be no problem for a duck.

    I've got a lot of vegan friends, so I'm well aware that the only animal product a healthy human being needs is breastmilk for the first few months of life (dunno when you can wean to a vegan diet, developmentally). I'm probably just too lazy to do it for dietary reasons. I'm even sympathetic when presented as a 'wouldn't you like to know you're not making another animal live its life for you?' argument. But when PETA tells me I'm a murderer, I remember how tasty bacon is, and want to eat it in front of them, just to piss them off.

    And yeah, they've got a chance of getting foie gras banned, and banning to save half a million birds is better to them than persuading people to freely reduce or eliminate eggs from their diet and only getting a 5% reduction that saves tens of millions of birds per year.

    They'd rather tell rich people what to do than persuade regular people to do the right thing. Because they're imperious dicks who get their rocks off from telling bad people how bad they are.

  • Dave W.||

    Dave, did you just diss yourself?

    No, but I am not surprised you pointed up this apparent contradiction. To explain my (conflicted) feelings:

    - when considering animal cruelty in food production, I think it is more important to consider more massively produced foods than luxury items like foie gras.

    - however, more massively produced food, especially if they are cheap sources of protein tend to be more important to get humankind to a decent comfort level than an exotic item like foie gras

    - which means that I think people should spend more time thinking about egg production than foie gras production, but also to be relatively more comfortable with higher levels of cruelty

    - that said, I wish I knew more about: (i) how painful egg production is for the chickens (I assume the chicken fetusues don't feel pain); and (ii) how much the price of eggs would rise for poor people if a good faith effort was made to reduce cruelty at a sensible margin.

    I wouldn't say I dissed myself, so much as I have mixed feelings on an important subject. For example, in 2004 and 2005, I gave up beef and pork for two years for moral reasons, but did not try to get it banned or discourage my family. Then in 2006, I started up again. It is just a hard issue is all.

  • ||

    highnumber,

    Why isn't Hit & Run highlighting the Mexican attempt to starve America of the vital substance, tequila? You'd think they would, given their heretofore reasonable skepticism about ethanol, but there's nothing. Only silence. Bought and paid for by Big Corn.

    At least Urkobold retains its journalistic integrity. By the way, when are you posting your foie gras expose? Or, at least, the recipe for the same?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    I consider myself a Libertarian (who is also a vegetarian), but I don't support a market for foie gras any more than I support a market for slaves.

    [Insert "What sort of wine do you serve with slave?' joke here.]

  • lunchstealer||

    And Amish George, while there is some evidence that foie-gras production actually mimmicks a natural process that geese undergo naturally to fatten up for the fall migration, it is not implausible that the liver effects of the force-feeding would have long-term health effects for the ducks and geese in question. So it would be cruel NOT to eat them! :P

  • highnumber||

    ProGLib,
    Still too busy fretting about tequila and enjoying Glenn Mercer's fabulous new solo album, Wheels in Motion.
    Available on Amazon and eMusic

  • ||

    Understood. We'll get you through the tequila withdrawal period somehow, highnumber.

  • lunchstealer||

    ^#, Have you considered scotch? While a bit pricier, I find a good single malt scotch to often be very much the equal in complexity and depth of flavor to a high-quality tequila.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't get tequila production back up immediately, I'm just suggesting something to help you through the lean times (especially since agave production will have a long time to ramp back up).

  • ||

    lunchstealer,

    That's all very reasonable, but what's the point of having the greatest military power of all time if you can't use it to "persuade" your neighbors to keep on supplying cheap tequila?

    It's bad for a Scottish scion to admit, but I can't stand Scotch. Maybe it'd work for highnumber, though.

  • lunchstealer||

    I agree. But as long as the juniper supply isn't threatened, I'm good.

  • ||

    ""Libertarian" does not necessarily mean anti-animal welfare, Katherine... I would expect you'd be applauding the picketers for trying a market-based solution to the issue instead of passing legislation."
    You'd think that, but the libertarian movement in the US has been a tool of conservatism pretty much since its inception, and boy, conservatives hate those tree-huggin' animal kissin' hippies (actually honest conservatives with little corporate connections are very concerned about environmental/animal welfare concerns, check out American Conservative now and then). I'm guessing this is because honestly conservative ideas are such a hard sell to many folks, especially young people. But dressing that whore up in libertarian mini-skirts will get more people to buy the pitched woo. A little independent thought will convince most reasonable folks quickly that a real libertarianism has much more to fear from conservatism than liberalism (the latter openly professes expanding liberty though their definition of liberty involves a positive element that frighttens most liberttarians, conservatives are often quite honest that they think liberty=license=bad thing). It's also probably a function of the handful of think tanks that define libertarianism being in bed with right wing ones (probably because think tinks tend to be born from dead rich guy foundations, and dead rich guys have a lot of interest in keeping folks voting GOP).

  • highnumber||

    lunchstealer, ProGLib,
    My second choice is good ol'merican bourbon.
    Nothing could replace tequila, though.

  • lunchstealer||

    Mmm bourbon. Ever tried Buffalo Trace? Often cheaper than JD, but as good as Knob Creek. Although when crackerin' it up, there's nothing better than a traveller of Jim Beam.

  • highnumber||

    I have had Buffalo Trace. I remember it tasting fine.
    I don't think I've ever actually "crackered it up," however. Born & raised in Chicagoland, I get uncomfortable at Cracker Barrel restaurants. In Atlanta, I check the trees for "strange fruit." When I walk into a Waffle House I ask if they have anyone who speaks English.

  • ||

    Dave W.,

    that said, I wish I knew more about: (i) how painful egg production is for the chickens (I assume the chicken fetusues don't feel pain);


    Fear not! "Factory Farmed" chicken eggs, as well as most "Free Range" eggs are not fertilized by a rooster. Hence, they are not fetuses.

  • ||

    Bourbon is my drink of choice. Of course, I am a child of the South.

  • DosCentimos||

    Count me among those who recently tried foie gras solely to spite the holier-than-thou crowd.

  • ||

    So many of you here should be ashamed of yourselves. There's no reason whatsoever to be hostile towards those peacefully trying to change how people think about something, nor is there any reason for this knee-jerk "I'll go stab a cow for fun" bullshit either. Grow up!

  • ||

    There's no reason whatsoever to be hostile towards those peacefully trying to change how people think about something,

    They're not "peacefully trying to change how people think".

    They're lobbying to pass a LAW. That means they're willing to see people killed if the violate said law. That's what laws mean.

    Frankly, I get pretty hostile when people talk about being willing to have people like me killed.

  • ||

    The animal rights movement presents the same problem for libertarian theory that pro-lifers do. They see torturing animals, or aborting fetuses, as being as immoral (probably more) as libertarians see forcibly taking one's land or fraudently taking the fruits of their labor, or enslaving someone. They see it as wrong. And just like libertarians think the law should step in and stop what they consider to be immoral from occurring (i.e., enslaving someone, taking their land by force with cops to make a mini-mall or swindling investors), so do they.

  • ||

    Ashish George quotes this: "It is clear that steatosis and other effects of force feeding are lethal when the procedures are continued."

    Ummm, killing chickens and geese to eat them is lethal. So, is killing them ethical, but somewhat harming their health unethical? Please.

  • ||

    Ken, the animal rights thing and the pro-life thing are not comparable. Pro-life libertarians such as me feel that at some point a fertilized egg transitions into a human being. And, while where that point occurs is certainly debateable, whether very soon after conception, right after delivery, or (where most people, including me, see it) somewhere in between, can any libertarian stand by in good conscience and see what they consider a human being to be deprived of life? So, that's a real tricky situation because of that ambiguity as to when human life begins.

    But, the animal rights folks are trying to extend those same protections to non-humans -- and usually only cuddly-looking non-humans to boot. So is depriving humans of their freedom to choose in order to protect the "rights" of cuddly-looking non-humans libertarianism? Unlike the abortion question, there's no comparable ambiguity there -- animals are not human beings, and forcibly depriving people of their freedom to choose for the sake of animal "rights" is wrong.

  • highnumber||

    The animal rights movement presents the same problem for libertarian theory that pro-lifers do.

    No, they don't. I'll talk about abortion with you. I'll talk about animal rights with you.
    I will not conflate the two.

  • Grotius||

    The great thing about capitalism - well one of the great things about capitalism - is that it has made foie gras far less of a luxury item. Compared to thirty or forty years ago it is (adjusted for inflation, etc.) far cheaper to buy. A change in technology explains this trend in part. Anyway, at one time (prior to WWII basically) foie gras was an item one had on special occassions and that is no longer really the case. One can now eat it year around relatively cheaply. So chalk up another victory for capitalism!

  • Grotius||

    Anyway, I do think that these bans and attempted bans do increase foie gras sales (and business for French restaurants in general), at least temporarily.

  • ||

    jh and highnumber, you're missing the point. As I SAID both the animal rights movement and the pro-life movement make moral claims, that x (abortion for one, animal torture for the other) is fundamentally immoral and so someone should step and prevent it. IF you agree with either premise then you can't simply holler "choice, liberty!" in response, any more than you can talk about one's freedome to have slaves.
    Now, I think you are also wrong to dismiss a conflation between a fetus and many animals. You should check out the work of Tom Regan on this subject. As he points out, to just say "well, fetuses are human and animals ar not" just invites the next question: why is that morally relevant (it makes as much sense to say, if they existed, "well, Martians are not humans so let's torture them", we have to find out if Martians have any of the stuff that humans do that make us morally worthy of respect, to whatever degree demands moral respect). And you must not know many serious environmentalists to say that they just want to protect cuddly animals, another post on HR went on about their attempt to protect SALMON, harldy cuddly there).

  • highnumber||

    Ken,

    Are you really stuck on how humans and animals are different?

    Where do you, Ken, draw the line?
    Mammals, warm blooded animals, vertebrates?

  • ||

    What in your opinion makes humans special? Intelligence or rationality? Well dogs have that at the same level of an 18 month old, so is it ok to experiment on one and not the other? Is it because we feel pain? Surely so do most animals. Is it because they are the same species as us? Well why not ratchet that up another level and only morall respect people of the same 'race.' Or is it, as many of folks fall back on in this argument, the classic "cuz the Bible told me so?"

    To answer your other question, I personally think that within the animal kingdom their is quite a continuum of rationality, feeling and intelligence with chimps and dogs on the high end and shrimp and such on the low end. But of course, this is true for humans too, right (which is why kids are circumsized very young, people are convinced their lack of sentience at this point makes it less bad on them).

  • ||

    By the way highnumber, most animal rights profs I've read push hard for the idea of moral weight being given to fetuses, since they tend to focus on the capacity to feel pain that both share as being the morally relevant criteria.

  • ||

    Ken,

    The crucial distinction between animals and humans is that humans are all part of one gene pool and animals are not. The offspring of other humans are potential mates of your offspring.

    If you don't accept that fundamental distinction, then you open up several Pandora's boxes -- you'll have radical environmentalists trying to use the government to prevent anyone from building power plants, using cars, building houses, or doing any other human activity that benefits humans at the expense of wildlife -- i.e., ALL human activity. You'll have Hindus trying to use government to force us to all become vegetarians, to prevent killing any animals, on the grounds that those animals are reincarnated human beings. You'll have Jainists trying to use government to prevent killing even tiny insects. No doubt there'll be a few whackjobs trying to prevent us from killing deadly pathogens, because Isn't All Life Sacred?

    You accept the equality of animals with humans, you allow virtually unlimited government meddling in the affairs of humans, because of the new rule of no initiation of force upon any living being, with no differentiation between humans and non-humans.

  • VM||

    Foie gras is tasty.

    Playing around with the cute little piglets is fun.

    Suckling pig is tasty.

    Geese aren't fun.

    It somehow completes the circle of life. Highnumber, YOU ARE the rocket man.

    *looks for something in closet that isn't there

  • ||

    "The crucial distinction between animals and humans is that humans are all part of one gene pool and animals are not. The offspring of other humans are potential mates of your offspring."
    This is the crucial distinction, that those within the human gene pool deserve moral weight? If you think about it, you just said "the thing that makes humans special as a class is that they are members of the class called humans."

  • XaabaZu||

    Gosh, I was about to indulge in hamburger, but Ken's shrill hectoring has certainly convinced me that that would be wrong. Instead I am going to eat a handful of gravel, because eating any living thing would be wrong.

  • highnumber||

    Shrill hectoring? You are too generous, XaabaZu. It is nonsense.

    Ken,
    Honestly, do you not see that humans are different than the rest of the animals? That we are supra-animals?

  • lunchstealer||

    I think the crucial difference between humans and animals is that animals are tasty.

    Octopi are not tasty, but are kind of ugly, so I feel that they should be left unmolested, unless they get in the way. Then Boom! Flat as a pancake.

    Seriously, though, I do get where Ken is coming from. The animal-rights, pro-life, and even abolitionist movements all expanded legal protections to people who weren't condsidered 'real' people by the general populace. We can quibble about genetics (I've always felt the DNA test was useful from a legal standpoint, but meaningless from a philosophical standpoint) or the ability to feel pain or emote or fear death. But ultimately these are questions of what organisms get assigned the rights and priviliges that we claim for ourselves.

    Animal slaughter and abortion should not be conflated, but the moral feelings of their opponents are nontheless comparable.

  • ||

    "Animal slaughter and abortion should not be conflated, but the moral feelings of their opponents are nontheless comparable."
    Well, that was the point I was making, though again, I think the two can be conflated plenty. Especially when the stellar arguments so far as to why humans deserve moral weight and animals don't have been these logical nightmares:

    "Honestly, do you not see that humans are different than the rest of the animals? That we are supra-animals?" This is I guess argument through sheer repetition, as I have asked several times for you to give me a or the characteristic that humans possess, and animals do not, that gives the former moral weight. And please, not this one again:
    "The crucial distinction between animals and humans is that humans are all part of one gene pool and animals are not." That humans are special because they are humans. Please read what a circular argument is before you, well, go around that way again.

  • ||

    Let me give you my moral principle first: that it is morally wrong to injure anything to the extent that it a. feels pain, and b. is intelligent. I'm not sure about fetuses on b., but humans have a and b, so I won't hamr them for no really good reason. But here is the catch, dogs have some of a and b, in fact I think they have about as much as an 18 month old child (well, actually cognitive psychologists who study dog intelligence have given that estimate). Now, you have to take into account some potentiality of course (that 18 month old will some day be a highly rational, intelligent, feeling human, and yes I do think humans are supra-animals when it comes to the first two and that it is ok to weight us HIGHER, but it is wrong to not weight most animals somehwere on the moral calculus). But you see, if we had some human who was 'retarded' or brain injured who had a 18 month old capacity I still think it would be wrong to, say, test cosmetics on him. But I think the same goes for the dog. Saying , well one is human and one is not is not to say anything morally relevant, again, what's so special about humans (and I've just told you that I think they ARE special and why).

  • VM||

    Lunch - dunno.

    how tasty is a fetus?

    cuz foie gras is crazy delicious!

    mmm.

    *adjusts collar on baby seal fur coat

  • lunchstealer||

    VM

    I don't know about whole fetuses, but stem cells are nummy!

  • ||

    Fetus, schmetus. I want human caviar. I'm not sure how many billions of ova it'd take, but I have a feeling it's gonna be delicious.

  • ||

    Ken, you win. It is circular reasoning on my part to say that people are all members of the same gene pool, and animals are not, and that we should give more weight to members of our species than to other carbon-based forms of life. So, all species are equally precious, and deserve the same treatment under the law --or lack thereof.

    Now if you'll excuse me, based on this lack of distinction you espouse, I'm gonna go take Jonathan Swift's advise and eat a delicious baked Irish baby. Mmmmm. Tasty! And no more morally wrong than eating KFC!

  • ||

    "Intelligence or rationality? Well dogs have that at the same level of an 18 month old"

    That is a more difficult equation to make than you imply here. Most 18 month old children are moving from single word utterances to multiword utterances. Dogs, not so much. Dogs, the bestest smartest dogs in the world, have only a fraction of the receptive vocabulary of a typical 18 month old.

    A grown dog, however, might have a more sophisticated social ability than a typical 18 month old, it could be argued.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican-You are absolutely right. It is a difficult equivalence, the psychologists I read were making a rough estimate admitting that there would be many a rough edge. The point holds up though, that there is some 'intelligence' going on. BTW-There is a dog in Germany that scientists have taught to recognize 200 words (of course we can't compare babies and dogs on speaking words, dogs don't have the vocal cord structure for that), and to recognize new words (they have trained it to know what its bone and stick is, and they put them in a room with a third untaught object, say a chew toy, and they say "go get the chew toy" and it goes in, and knowing what the bone and stick is, and that the chew toy is the only not-them item in the room, it gets it!).
    "So, all species are equally precious, and deserve the same treatment under the law --or lack thereof."
    Well, of course I NEVER implied or said this. In fact I explictly stated that humans deserve MORE moral weight than any other animal I can think of. I just said that animals deserve SOME moral weight, since they have, to some lesser degree, the characteristics that make us morally relevant (intelligence, ability to feel pain, etc). Heck, I ate a steak and cheese sub yesterday and loved it! I chalk that up to my moral weakness (I'm married and not supposed to ogle hot ladies as they walk past too, but no such luck with that one too) and that I don't think that the mere killing of animals for food, if done in a humane way after a humane life of some sorts, is necessarily evil. But the process whereby we get foie gras and veal are just cruel and morally wrong imo.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement