New York City to ban foie gras

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Life for ducks and geese in New York City just became (or will soon become) a little less hellish, as the City Council recently voted to ban the sale of foie gras, or the deliberately and cruelly fattened liver of a duck or a goose that has been force-fed enormous amounts of corn with added fat before being slaughtered.

According to Reuters, the New York City Council voted overwhelmingly (42-6) to “ban the sale or provision of certain force-fed poultry products.” The ban is due to take effect in 2022; violations are punishable by fines from $500 to $2,000.

The bill was introduced by Jeremy Unger, spokesman for Council member Carlina Rivera of Manhattan. Unger stated that the ban is motivated by animal welfare concerns.

“The council is banning a really cruel and inhumane practice,” he said.

It goes without saying that the ban is being challenged by the largest foie gras producers in the United States, including Hudson Valley Foie Gras, La Belle Farms and Au Bon Canard. Of these these producers, Hudson Valley is the biggest. Its manager, Marcus Henley, argues that his company’s foie gras is produced “in conformity with humane animal management and in compliance with the laws of the state of New York.”

“I can tell you we take proper care of the birds,” he said, adding that Hudson Valley plans to seek to overturn the ban in court.

As Reuters reports, New York City is not the first to ban the sale of foie gras. A similar ban was previously passed in Chicago in 2006, and subsequently repealed two years later when the city’s mayor said it made Chicago “the laughingstock of the nation.”

It must take a very dark sense of humor indeed to find anything funny about jamming a tube down into a bird’s stomach and pumping it full of fatty corn in order to swell its liver to an obscene size, causing extreme physical suffering and medical problems for the animal. All so that some rich yuppie can satisfy his or her bizarre, decadent tastes.