Recently French President François Hollande pledged to fight California’s ban on foie gras. How he plans to do this, I am not sure, and the president himself has admitted that he cannot fight the law directly. Fearing that California’s legislation will encourage other states and, perhaps closer to home for the new leader, other EU countries to implement similar laws, he vows to use free trade treaties to continue to export this traditional French product while “bombard[ing] US political leaders with gifts of foie gras ‘for their own great enjoyment.'” How kind of him.
As The Independent reports, “it is useful for Mr. Hollande politically to cast himself as a defender of rural and ancient traditions. In truth, 80 per cent of French foie gras is produced in factory farms, rather than small family run businesses like the one he visited on Saturday.” In that respect, this is akin to an Iowan politician singing the virtues of a mom and pop farm when it is the CAFOs that are bringing in the political support; it paints the proper down-to-earth bucolic image that is much more attractive than a corporate defender. Perhaps this is all just political posturing.
Mr. Hollande’s support make sense when we consider that he won the election on an anti-austerity campaign. Nothing says spending like over-priced livers. The president claims that to ban the importation of what is legally in France a “protected cultural and gastronomical heritage” is an affront to free trade. Hypothetically, if America still relied on slave labor, I wonder if we could cite the same principle to object to any European country that declined to import our cotton.
The California ban has been in effect for over a month, and how well this polarizing law will be enforced is questionable, as Elizabeth Rattner previously posted. Still, if Mr. Hollande is that concerned with the gall of the Californians, perhaps he can make some appeal under the Supremacy Clause similar to Crosby v. NFTC, though I don’t think there are the same kind of conflicting laws in this matter. Opponents of the law have cited Commerce Clause issues that might carry water. Then again, while I generally applaud political focus on animal issues, maybe Mr. Hollande will realize that he has more pressing concerns than a state that might influence a small percentage of French exports.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, diet, factory farms, vegetarianism Tagged: | animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, cafo, california, environmental law, European Union, factory farms, farmed animals, foie gras, François Hollande, France, meat, vegetarianism