I don't recall anyone making the argument that it isn't OK to kill animals for meat. Some people feel that way--not me. I think we should kill animals for meat. I just don't think that we should raise many of them the way we do. I mean, forget the issue of suffering, it's just gross. Animals live in their own filth, nick and pick at each other, get sick, get maimed, etc. in the conditions. They are factory farmed, raised without care, abused and mistreated. To contrast, the food that is raised with care and love, attention, with forethought onto how the animal will TASTE after it is killed, is important to me. Naturally raised meat and poultry tastes better than the factory s h i t. Fact--I can't think of too many chefs who disagree. To me, there is a huge difference in the so called "hypocrisy" you say there is. It's not hypocritical for a chef to want natural meat--it is more sustainable, tastes better, and more often than not supports local business and economy. Nothing hypocritical about that. Maybe there is no such thing as "slaughter without suffering," but there is such a thing as raising without suffering.
Of course cows don't naturally eat corn. They eat grass. I don't think that the "whole reason we give them antibiotics" is because of the corn--it is more due to the horrible nasty conditions in which they live...i.e. bacteria and disease ridden filth. Thay have open wounds, infections, illness, etc, constantly, from the conditions on the feedlot as much as what they eat.
Doesn't do much for the meat? Yes it does. It makes the cow put on 100's of pounds in a matter of weeks, fills the meat up with saturated fat and "corny" flavor. It affects the marbling, the grading, and the weight at which it is sold. The number one reason we feed it to them is to fatten them up--same as foie gras, for that matter.
Grass fed beef tastes dramatically and noticeably different from corn fed beef. So much so, that most americans don't like the taste of beef because, well, it tastes too much like beef and not enough like fat and corn. We've now been conditioned to like and love corn fed beef.
Cheap feed? Nah. Not any cheaper than letting them roam around and eat natural grass until you kill them. Nobody would eat it though.
So, yeah, it does a lot for the meat.
Glad we agree on something.
I think the only point they are/were trying to make is that foie gras is a luxury item, in a world in which 90% don't have the luxury of luxury food, it's just kind of nice for us to be able to even debate the virtues of foie in a world in which a billion (or more) people go hungry every night. Some people are sad they can't eat foie anymore, when there are people in Africa, Asia, etc. that are sad because they can't eat ANYTHING. That's all. It's called perpective...i.e. thinking about the potential suffering of other living things. It's the bad part of being successful. Because the danger of becoming too successful and bloated on wealth and food is that you lose all perspective on life in general, and the daily struggle to survive in particular. Which is fine. I do it to. People that point those things out realize the disparity in wealth that makes the US, in particular, so fat and bloated and wasteful while much of the world starves to death.
Socialism? Communism? Whatever. Call it what you want. I don't think it would be a bad thing to have less agri-business and more family farms. I can't believe anyone on this board would disagree with that. If you want to call that socialist and communist, then go ahead. I call it healthier, more natural, and, oh yeah, more FLAVORFUL.
I understand that the whole natural family farm, etc, is the ideal. I know most chefs would be happy to trade in their factory chickens and pork for small farm raised stuff. I know that most chefs can't make the bottom line work if they do this. Again, I understand. But the ideal only stays the ideal for as long as people are unwilling or unable to change. I think, no matter what the cause, that this is a step in the right direction by a chef who is in a position to exert some influence over a broad base of clientele and sellers. I can only see it as a good thing. A baby step in the right direction.