Raymond Blanc and the Irksome Pâté

Well, it appears that animal rights activists are targeting Raymond Blanc’s restaurant and requesting that foie gras be removed from the menu. The article contains a classic example of something I see time and time again from those looking to defend their dubious treatment of animals:

[Blanc said] “I wish the animal rights people would look at intensive farming which goes on all year rather than the 6-10 days for the production of foie gras.”

I bet he does. Because then he’d be free to continue selling the irksome pâté in peace. The implication, of course, is that these animal rights groups would be better off targeting more blameworthy offenders, so they should leave foie gras alone and go and hassle the likes of the intensive farming industry instead. And indeed, there could well be some could truth in that sentiment. (Although there doesn’t seem to be any reason to think these groups are targeting foie gras instead of as opposed to as well as intensive farming.) But the things is, the issue of whether these groups have questionable priorities has absolutely no bearing on whether the restaurant should remove foie gras from its menu; it’s not an answer to that question; it’s simply a diversion from it. Regardless of issue, this tactic is frequently used by those who would rather turn the focus of the discussion back onto their critics than actually address the criticism itself; but it seems practically ubiquitous when the subject is that of animal ethics. It’s all a bit of a red herring, yeah?

Quite incidentally, in the same piece, Blanc himself seems to make a passing attempt at vilifying his critics:

Police have been called in to advise Brasserie Blanc, owned by world-renowned chef Raymond Blanc, after it received sinister letters and emails from activists.

“Police are aware of the e-mails and postcards and they have given us advice,” he said. “They are not threats as of yet, but more of a request that we consider taking foie gras off the menu. “It’s something that everyone is keeping a close eye on because of the animal rights goings-on elsewhere in the country.”

They’re not threats as of yet? That seems to imply there’s good reason to think that threats will follow doesn’t it? Also, if these messages were simply requests that they “consider taking foie gras off the menu” then it seems slightly melodramatic to refer to them as “sinister”.

Having said all of that, Blanc does address the main point more directly in the item and also makes some concessions. He says he’ll “stop [selling foie gras] if there is any evidence of pain to the animals because ethics are important” and that he will need to “have a further look at the scientific evidence”. Although I’m not sure how much scientific evidence one should really need when it comes to the question of whether force-feeding geese until they develop liver disease is in their best interests or not. Oh well.

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3 Responses to “Raymond Blanc and the Irksome Pâté”


  1. 1 Janet Tomlinson February 15, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Its amazing how many excuses Raymond Blanc tries to make so he can continue serving foie gras It shouldnt take anyone with a brain more than a few seconds to realise that the methods used are cruel and uncivilised. Also there are animal rights groups campaigning all the time to stop factory farming.He should stop making excuses and stop serving foie gras.

  2. 2 Ed February 16, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Perhaps, as a matter of principle, he’s decided to take a stand and not give in to these “sinister” and soon-to-be-threatening requests. Hmmm.

  3. 3 Al Rhowdha March 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Foie gras c’est trop bon….What about your connerie? Could it be taken off instead?


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