Capn Design

Why Foie Gras is Not Unethical

Kenji puts in the effort to explain why we needn’t be ashamed to eat foie gras. He visits La Belle Farms to dig into the details and discovers that, at least there, the animals are treated with care and live a good life. In fact, wages are based on fair treatment.

Bob [Ambrose] is quick to point out that “any mishandling of the ducks—rough treatment, that kind of thing—will cause bruising, reducing its price,” he explains. “So we’ve got a strong incentive to be gentle with the birds.” Duck handlers, who are mostly female (apparently ducks take better to women) work on an bonus-based program where their pay is bumped for every “A” grade lobe one of their charge produces. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a farm that offers workers a monetary incentive to be gentler with the animals. Bob insists that it works, and that the most experienced feeders can increase the number of A lobes from the normal 55% up to over 70%.

As Kenji points out, anthropomorphizing the ducks is a big reason we balk at foie gras. Our bodies and minds can’t handle being force-fed, but their’s can. I understand one’s aversion to eating meat in general, but Kenji makes it clear that foie gras is no worse, and possibly better, than other commercial meat production.