We wrote recently about naive idiots in York, wearing leather shoes, eating eggs, taking medicines developed in animal models and bleating over a restaurant serving foie gras.
A Cambridge restaurant announced last week that it would no longer have foie gras on its menu. Not, perhaps, an important event in itself, affecting not too many people. But the circumstances leading to the decision were disturbing. Daniel Clifford, the chef-owner of Midsummer House – honoured with two Michelin stars – didn’t stop serving the dish because he had been persuaded to do so by the argument that its manufacture involved the maltreatment of geese and ducks. He changed his mind through fear. The Animal Liberation Front admitted responsibility for acts of vandalism that included glueing the restaurant’s locks, throwing a brick through a window (narrowly missing a waiter), spray-painting the windows and generally trashing the place, causing several thousand pounds of damage. “My initial feeling was, ‘Sod ’em, we’ll get cameras and security to guard the restaurant,’ ” said Clifford. “But when the police told me what the ALF was capable of, I decided to give in. Ultimately I have to think of the safety of my staff and customers.” There wasn’t much media coverage of or reaction to the outrage.
Many restaurants in Britain serve foie gras. Have they all now become potential targets of ALF violence? Are our restaurant menus to be determined in future by whether or not animal activists approve of the way the animals, birds and fish on offer have been treated? Today foie gras – tomorrow chicken? The life of a goose, even one primed for its valuable liver, is far pleasanter and its distress far less (especially with modern methods of feeding it) than that of a battery chicken. A few thousand geese and ducks might have suffered in preparing the small quantities of foie gras consumed in this country; many millions of chicken and other animals, destined to be food for humans, have suffered more. I do not for a moment blame Midsummer House’s owner for submitting to the threats and violence, but I have an uneasy feeling that the day he did so marked the beginning of something new and sinister.
Several points here. First, it is nobody’s place to tell you what you may or may not eat, whether that be the government or the ALF. Some will not eat any but free range, organic eggs and chickens from a local producer, myself among them. Some will eat the cheapest, battery-farmed, tasteless, drug-riddled meat they can get their hands on. Some people will eat Freedom Food, as named by the RSPCA. I hope these people are not fooling themselves, salving their conscience, and have taken enough interest to understand that ‘Freedom Food’ chickens are grown in aircraft hangars exactly as those cheaper chickens they probably despise, but at slightly lower density. Freedom Food guidelines denote no more than 30kg of chicken per square metre. At 2.5kg after just 40 days of unaturally rapid growth, this still equates to 12 chickens per square metre. Anyway, I digress. It is about understanding, and making an informed choice without hypocrisy and without affecting anybody else.
A second point is that the POLICE have told this restaurant to give in to bullying.
SHAME on these filthy scum, charged with protecting the public yet refusing to protect this mans business and freedom to serve what he chooses to people willing to eat it. The police giving this advice are as sick and stupid as the ALF members, both intimidating this man to get the outcome that suits them best.