The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation


Letters and Responses

Letter From Webber about Foie Gras - 28 Oct 2004

Dear staff,

I was browsing the net to find information about foie gras and saw your site. It is really very disgusting, on how people can tolerate to eat foie gras/pate like that.

However, a thought came to me that with modern technology, individual organs can be grown inside the lab. Certainly, that is for medical sake, like organ transplant. However, if a piece of meat can be grown inside of a test tube (and it can be done), do you see it as living?

I am thinking, if people "grew" livers like plants, is that still the moral issue of killing or not killing? As scientists know more about biotechnology, the "liver" could, constructually speaking, be the same as the one that is inside the goose/duck, but it is grown outside of the animal. That way, it could be produced without causing harm to the animal.

I was just thinking.

Webber from Hong Kong

Reply from Frank and Mary

Dear Webber:

Thank you for writing.

You bring up a very interesting point. If muscle tissue cells or organ tissue cells are grown in the laboratory without nerve cells or neurons, then we would consider that there is no sentient being life, but something on the order of a plant.

However, if there are nerves and neurons, then there is the possibility of sentient life, and because we don't understand the pain factors without a brain, we don't know what is happening. Nevertheless, we do know that neurons control parts of the digestive system without involving the brain, unless there is a problem. Thus, we would consider this practice unethical.

Foie Gras is the product of a diseased liver, which involves the normal liver function and therefore must be connected to the nervous system, making it a form of playing with life.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank and Mary


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