Did Animal Cruelty Elicit Restaurant Swastika?

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010  |  Updated 1:15 PM PDT
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Did Animal Cruelty Elicit Restaurant Swastika?

Bailey's Prime Plus

Which is worse? Spray painting a swastika on someone's building, or sticking a pipe down someone's throat and pumping food directly into their esophagus? They're both kind of bad.

A big silver swastika recently showed up on the wall of Noe Valley's Incanto Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar. The SFPD is investigating it as a hate crime and the owner of the restaurant believes he was targeted due to his sale of foie gras, which is produced by force-feeding geese.

Incanto has long-defended its menu.

"Incanto continues to serve it because we believe both that individuals ought to decide their own morality and that those who dedicate so much energy and animosity toward fighting it simply have their priorities wrong," the owner's business partner, Chris Cosentino, wrote in a letter on the restaurant's website last year.

Foie gras has plenty of enemies. A European Union committee recently wrote, "force feeding, as currently practised, is detrimental to the welfare of the birds." The American Veterinary Association's Animal Welfare Committee opposed foie gras production methods. Most farms force the food into the animals' throats though a tube attached to a pneumatic pump.

It's unclear who's responsible for the graffiti. PETA disavowed knowledge, but there are still plenty of other animal welfare organizations in the City. One observer even suggested that the restaurant's owners even painted the graffiti themselves. Hey, if you eat meat, you're probably capable of anything.

Matt Baume eats meat.

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