New York City Bans Foie Gras

The new ban will take effect in 2022.

Hudson Valley Duck products, including some of their Foie Gras, is packaged December 15, 2017 at the Hudson Valley Duck Farm in Ferndale, New York.
Hudson Valley Duck products, including some of their Foie Gras, is packaged December 15, 2017 at the Hudson Valley Duck Farm in Ferndale, New York.
By Bonnie Stiernberg / October 31, 2019 9:55 am

The New York City Council’s proposed foie gras ban was passed Wednesday by an overwhelming majority, meaning the sale of the dish — made from the fattened liver of a duck or a goose — will be illegal in the city beginning in 2022.

As the New York Times notes, there are currently about 1000 restaurants in New York City that serve foie gras, and many of their proprietors aren’t happy. “New York is the mecca of dining in the world. How is it possible that New York doesn’t have foie gras?” Marco Moreira, executive chef and owner of Tocqueville, told the publication. “What’s next? No more veal? No more mushrooms?”

The legislation also raised the fine for selling foie gras to $2000 from the proposed $1000, but it eliminated the proposed penalty of a year in jail. Still, upstate duck farms like Hudson Valley and La Belle are worried the new law will put them out of business.

“California and New York were our biggest markets, so this is devastating,” La Belle founder Sergio Saravia said. “It’s going to make it difficult to stay afloat.”

Animal rights supporters, however, are pleased with the ban, arguing that the force-feeding process required to enlarge the liver is cruel. “This is one of the most violent practices and it’s done for a purely luxury product,” Carolina Rivera, the Manhattan councilwoman who sponsored the bill, said. She added that she doesn’t think the ban will put duck farms out of business. “These farms produce dozens of other products and gavage is aggressively cruel,” she said. “There is an exotic animal ban in New York City and people still go to the circus.”

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