Travels: Animal Well & Fair

31 07 2011

Whilst travelling through France, you get to hear how France has the best food. This is a lie. They have the best ingredients but this does not necessarily translate to the best food.

There is a slight issue with the ingredients too.

Now, I’m a firm believer that if you’re squeemish about where your meat comes from, you shouldn’t eat it. I don’t think you necessarily need to be happy to do the job yourself but you can’t be down on those people who do it on your behalf.

For those amongst the readership who are vegetarian or even vegan, you can exuse yourself from this if you so desire as it may get a little graphic. If you aren’t a vegetarian/vegan but may be a bit squeemish then you may exuse yourself from the rest of this too. I will say, thoug, that it may interest anyone who likes animals.

The French like animals, they do, they just don’t become that attached to them really, not like the Brits anyway. And a lot of this is reflected in the food. Fois Gras, a speciality of the region I’m in, is made by force feeding ducks with corn. And I do mean force feeding, as in putting a funnel in their mouth n pouring in huge amounts of corn. Veal is from calves, traditionally done by sticking a calf in a box till it’s ready for slaughter. Slaughter methods tend to be around the idea of cutting the animals throat and letting it bleed out.

My stance on all of this is that if you’re going to kill anything, especially to eat, then do it fast, do it clean. Additionally, if you’re rearing anything for meat then you kinda owe it to whatever it is to give it the best life you can.

Tackling the bits mentioned above;

Foie Gras – The arguement given is that ducks will naturally gorge themselves on corn at certain times of the year naturally. This is true, they will indeed. However, that, for me at least, doesn’t mean you should be doing it with a funnel because you want the biggest liver possible to maximise profits.

Veal – A lot of effort has gone into moving from pink veal (the calf in the box) to white veal (calf running around in the fresh air). So free range as it were. We give this to chickens, why not give it to all other animals?

The slaughter method – I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know if this is the method preferred by french slaugterhouses, but I have witnessed it done to rabbits by a local. The whole idea is that the method is quick, but then having witnessed it I know that it can take 15 seconds from start to end of rabbit kicking. Not long is it? Compared to the less than 2 seconds to break a neck, it’s very long. And there’s no need to do it that way either.

My stance on this last part does bring me into conflict with two major religions, namely Islam and Judaism.

Why?

Because for meat to be kosher or halal, it must be killed by having its throat cut (with a prayer being said at the time but this isn’t a problem for me).

As such I don’t have a problem with the sale of halal or kosher meat, religious freedom is a given. However, I feel that the production within the UK should be banned. Yes this may reduce the market a bit for producers but then I’ve yet to see a UK/Irish producer who couldn’t buy a facility in another country. So they should be able to keep on making their profits, the religious factions keep their practises per se, and I get to feel a bit better about animal welfare.

Ok, not the biggest blow for animal rights but for me it’d make a difference. That’s just me.

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One response

1 08 2011
Rachael Black

Was wondering if you were going to mention the Jewish Kosher methid of letting an animal bleed out.

I am a total hypocrite: Love veal, lobster (who can live to be 90 and mate for life) and foir gras.
Having said that I rarely eat these items because though a hypocrite I still have a heart. Hmmmmm heart;
JK. Not a fan of the innards.
And…. I’m poor!
Hope you’re having fun Null 🙂

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