New York City to ban foie gras sales

Emotions have been running high on New York’s fine dining scene after the city’s council voted to ban sales of foie gras.

New York City Council voted by 42 to six to ban the sale of foie gras and other products from force-fed poultry, according to Reuters.

From 2022, any restaurants, bars or retailers caught selling the French delicacy under-the-counter will face a fine of up to $2,000.

News of the vote immediately caused debate on social media and on the city’s renowned fine dining scene.

‘How is it possible that New York doesn’t have foie gras?” Marco Moreira, executive chef and owner of French restaurant Tocqueville, told the New York Times.

Others were more sympathetic to the bill and it was strongly supported by animal rights groups, who have long argued that the process of force-feeding grain to ducks and geese to inflate their livers is unacceptable.

Non-profit organisation the Animal Welfare Institute thanked the bill’s sponsor, councilwoman Carlina Rivera.

This bill ensures ‘that this unspeakably inhumane “luxury” food, which subjects birds to cruel force-feeding, will no longer be served or sold in NYC,’ it said on Twitter.

Legal challenges may follow, however.

California passed a ban on foie gras in 2004, but it did not come into force until 2012. Even then, it was only in January this year that the US Supreme Court said that it would not hear legal challenges to the law.

New York’s bill potentially leaves the door open to those who say it is possible to produce the delicacy in a more ethical way – without force-feeding.

According to the NYTimes, the onus would be on the producer to prove that birds had not been force-fed.


From the archive: California’s foie gras ban comes into force