“I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other. It’s very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals.”
Those are the words that Barack Obama said when he was asked a question about animal rights at one of his campaign stops during election season. I’m not going to get into the PETA/Fly-swatting issue, but I will say that there have been a lot of misunderstandings about that silly issue. With the recent news of Obama and his family eating veal in New York and foie gras in France, do we need to re-evaluate the president’s stance on animals? Veal and foie gras are two products of some of the most extreme forms of animal abuse in factory farming. A number of countries have already banned the production of veal or foie gras and some American states have recently begun to follow suit.
Foie gras (also called pâté) is nothing but fatten duck liver. It’s produced by repetitively force-feeding ducks shortly before they are slaughtered. A metal tube is pushed down the birds’ throats and grains are forced into their stomaches. It’s a cruel practice that is already on its way out. Over 100 restaurants in the United States have removed the dish from their menu because it is inherently cruel. Obama’s home city, Chicago, even banned the sale of it, although they later repealed that ban.
Veal is a milky-colored, tender meat produced from baby cows. When it comes to cruel farm practices, veal is notorious. New-born calves who are discarded by the dairy industry are confined in crates only slightly larger than their bodies. With no room to turn around and an iron-deficient diet, the calves do not get any exercise, they develop no muscles mass, and become anemic. California just recently banned use of veal crates by popular vote, Maine followed suit shortly thereafter, and Massachusetts is now likely to see the next victory.
The tide is clearly turning. Veal and foie gras are so cruel that chefs and politicians are banning them, so why hasn’t President Obama taken notice? What can we do to get his attention?
I took a look on care2 and did not find a petition about Obama and veal or foie gras. Anyone know of one? If you find one (or create one) I’ll post it here.