Ducking the opportunity to stand up to animal-rights extremists, the Chicago City Council voted on Wednesday to outlaw the sale of the delicacy foie gras. The New York Daily News reported that its own city’s council had nothing but mockery for the decision (“I thought we were out of our minds, so I thank Chicago for what they did because it makes our Council look extra ordinary,” said one New York councilman), and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had some choice words for the vote against consumer freedom:
Someone talks about foie gras this week. What’s next week? What’s on your menu … You tell me what’s next week we’re gonna decide what you should eat and what you should do.
Rick Tramonto, executive chef of one of the restaurants affected by the ban, told The New York Times: “Government shouldn’t be dictating what we eat … It’s just not right.” Gene Bauston of the animal-rights activist group Farm Sanctuary, on the other hand, was clearly pleased at having goosed meat-eaters, promising that the ban’s effects “will be felt in other parts of the country.“
He’s right. Beyond the violence already done to restaurants (foie gras seems to make some animal-rights folks a little smashy), activists are more than willing to use the precedent set in Chicago to do violence to our liberties in the name of their pet projects (including restrictions on pet ownership). It’s already happening in Ottawa, Canada. Right now groups like Farm Sanctuary are working to have the same kinds of laws levied against veal. The more laws passed in the name of “humane” farming, the better, they seem to think.
Of course, when the Center for Consumer Freedom debated Farm Sanctuary president Bauston on the BBC in January 2004, the anti-meat activist had literally nothing to say when asked to describe what “humane” livestock agriculture would look like. One particularly astute Chicago Tribune reader had to ask how far these laws are supposed to go:
Do you want to send the pig to kindergarten and teach it to read and write? Maybe take it to the park and push it on a swing? … If a person’s goal is the abolition of people eating animals, I don’t agree with that.