NYC lawmaker cites animal cruelty in proposal to ban sale of foie gras

NYC lawmaker cites animal cruelty in proposal to ban sale of foie gras
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A New York City lawmaker has introduced a bill to ban restaurants and other food vendors from selling foie gras.

Citing animal cruelty concerns, the bill from New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera (D) would impose fines of up to $1,000 and one year in jail for selling the fattened goose liver pâté.

Rivera told the New York Post that the production process of foie gras, in which geese and ducks are force-fed to fatten their livers, is “egregious” and has been tolerated in the city for “far too long.”

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“[Foie Gras] is not part of the diet of everyday New Yorkers,” Rivera told the Post. “Less than 1 percent of all New York City restaurants serve it. This is truly a luxury item.”

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Foie gras, a popular delicacy in France and at high-end restaurants, is banned in California and widely opposed by animal-rights groups.

The lawmaker told the paper that she tried foie gras years before being elected to the city council, but did not know how it was made. She said she did not like the taste at the time.

The animal rights group Voters for Animal Rights backs Rivera’s proposed ban, which was introduced last week, saying it would “protect ducks and geese from the foie gras industry’s barbaric practice of forced-feeding.”

Councilman Justin Brannan (D) told the Post that he supports Rivera’s bill.

“Force-feeding a bird for the sole purpose of making it sick to create some bizarre delicacy is gruesome and inhumane,” he said. “This may have been acceptable in 2500 BC but I think we know better now.”

At least two operators of French restaurants in New York, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Post that they worried a ban on foie gras would hurt their business, as it is a popular menu item. 

A number of other restaurant operators did not respond to the New York Post’s requests for comment, or declined to comment.