The hugely popular French delicacy may become a banned ingredient in New York if proposed legislation to ban its sale goes ahead. Undoubtedly delicious, the goose liver has many critics, especially animal rights activists who slam the product as cruel.
Foie gras is produced by the process of gavage, a method of force-feeding geese with corn by inserting a metal funnel down the throat of the goose. The delicacy first gained popularity in France when nobility noticed that the fatty liver of the goose was extremely rich and delicious when the bird had just gorged on food in preparation for its long migration north. Farmers then adapted the gavage method of force-feeding the birds in order to have the foie gras all year round. While many opposed the sale of foie gras, it has remained popular, especially in fine dining.
It now looks like foie gras on New York menus could become a thing of the past if the legislation passes. The bill was introduced by council member Carlina Rivera, who said the production process is “egregiously cruel”.
She added: “Not only does force-feeding cause extreme pain and suffering, it is all being done for a luxury product that only a tiny percentage of New York City restaurants serve and is not part of the diet of hardworking New Yorkers.”
Foie gras was previously banned in California in 2012 but was overturned in 2015. Chicago also banned it banned in 2006, overturned the ruing in 2008.
The bill has so far received the support of mayor Bill de Blasio and over half the council as co-sponsors.
If introduced, the bill would see restaurants hit with a $1000 fine, up to a year in jail, or both for serving it.
The bill does not restrict the raising of geese for the purposes of foie gras but bans the sale of foie gras produced by force-feeding methods.
While there are some ethical alternatives to the gavage method, and even vegetarian substitutes, the production of foie gras does support jobs in rural areas of America and a ban would directly affect some farming communities that depend on it.